General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has flown a new survivable Air-Launched Effect (ALE) for the first time as part of a flight demonstration based out of the Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah. The flight took place on December 8th 2022.
Known as Eaglet, the ALE was launched from a U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The Eaglet flight was jointly funded by GA-ASI and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and Aviation & Missile Center (AvMC).
Following this successful flight of the Eaglet, GA-ASI will work with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to feature it in other exercises in order to further determine its potential. The Eaglet is the newest entry into GA-ASI’s Evolution Series of advanced UAS concepts.
“The first flight of the Eaglet was an important milestone for the GA-ASI/U.S. Army team,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “Eaglet is intended to be a low-cost, survivable UAS with the versatility to be launched from a Gray Eagle, rotary-wing aircraft, or ground vehicles. It enables extended reach of sensors and increased lethality while providing survivability for manned aircraft.”
Designed to extend battlefield options for commanders while reducing their decision cycles, Eaglet fits into the ‘ALE Large’ category, which encompasses larger, more powerful sensors or payloads. Because of its design, Eaglet is capable of carrying a diverse range of payloads in support of multiple Army missions.
Eaglet can work in concert with other long-range payloads carried by Gray Eagles, helicopters, or other platforms, to support deep sensing in Multi-Domain Operations and can be carried for thousands of kilometers by the Gray Eagle before launch. During launch the Eaglet can be controlled through unmanned-unmanned teaming or as a component of advanced teaming command and control concepts.