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U.S. Army awards contract for extended range drone

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has received a $221.6 million contract for hardware acquisition related to an extended range Grey Eagle unmanned aircraft.

By Stephen Carlson

May 11 (UPI) -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has received a $221.6 million contract for hardware acquisition related to an extended range Grey Eagle unmanned aircraft.

The contract includes 20 Grey Eagles, with support systems including satellite communications air data terminals, six ground control stations, spare parts, and ground support equipment and management.

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There will also be options for five more extended range Grey Eagle aircraft with the associated SATCOM terminals. The work will be performed in Poway, Calif. The contract is expected to be completed by November 30, 2019.

The Grey Eagle is a highly upgraded derivative of the Predator drone. It has an endurance of up to 25 hours and a flight ceiling of 29,000 feet. It can carry over a thousand pounds of internal and external payload.

It can carry Electro-Optical/Infrared with laser designators, Synthetic Aperture Radar, and up to 4 Hellfire laser-guided attack missiles.

The Grey Eagle also has an automatic take-off and landing system, allowing it to launch and be recovered with no outside interaction. It is controlled by the U.S. Army One System Ground Control Station.

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