General Atomics wins $411 million Army contract

Written by
Nathan Max
July 11, 2012

POWAY — Poway-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has won a $411 million government contract to provide the U.S. Army with 29 Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles, the Defense Department announced Tuesday.

The aircraft, popularly referred to as drones, are scheduled to be completed and delivered to the military by March 2015. The contract also calls for 31 ground-control stations, 55 ground-data terminals, spare parts and ground-support equipment.

General Atomics plans to subcontract out the ground-control stations and ground-data terminals, company spokeswoman Kimberly Kasitz said.

In 2005, General Atomics won an Army contract to provide Extended/Range Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and since 2008 it has completed and delivered 50 Gray Eagle aircraft, Kasitz said. An additional 44 Gray Eagles are in development, meaning the Army has now ordered 123 of the unmanned aircraft from General Atomics.

Gray Eagles have accumulated more than 35,000 flight hours since first being deployed in 2008, Kasitz said. Gray Eagles have a maximum endurance of more than 30 hours, can operate up to 29,000 feet and can carry up to 1,075 pounds.

Gray Eagles are a long-range aircraft that are used for intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance, convoy protection, improvised-explosive-device detection, close air support, communications relays and weapons-delivery missions.

“Continued growth of the program is a testament to the reliability, durability and operational flexibility of the aircraft to the warfighter,” Kasitz said. “We’re pleased to be able to continue to support our Army customer in meeting both its short and long-term demands.”