General Atomics
Unmanned aircraft system

Unmanned Aircraft Targets from a Distance

Feb. 12, 2020
This unmanned aircraft system provides precise targeting information at new, longer distances from the base camp.

An unmanned aircraft system (AES) such as the Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) may one day reach new limits of endurance and new borders. To better understand the capabilities of this impressive AES, a series of tests started late in 2019 has been continued in 2020 to explore the place for this robotic system in multi-domain-operation (MDO) warfare. The company maintains that properly equipped with long-range sensors and air-launched effects (ALE), a GE-ER AES can detect, identify, locate and report (DIRL) targetable data to control stations for use in long-range precision fire (LRPF) systems.

“Gray Eagle ER is a critical tool, along with the Army’s manned platforms, for operations in an MDO environment,” said David R. Alexander, president, GA-ASI. “We’re excited to show the capability Gray Eagle ER provides due to its increased endurance and range, with the addition of high Technology Readiness Level (TLR) long range sensors and ALE.”

The GE-ER under test was equipped with a Lynx Block 30A system, a combination long-range synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and ground moving target indicator (GMTI). The AES could detect military targets to a range of 75 km (about 46.5 miles). The Lynx Block 30A system produced precise coordinates with every image, with the capability to coordinate aviation systems or even direct engagement with LRPF systems for rapid response. In addition to GMTI, the Lynx system supports dismount moving target indicator (DMTI) and maritime detection and maritime identification (MDMI) with inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) capabilities. Flights and future demonstrations will be controlled exclusively using GA-ASI scalable command & control (SC2) software running on a laptop computer for a mobile, portable operator interface that is also compliant with modern size, weight, and power (SWaP) battlefield requirements.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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