GA-ASI’s Gray Eagle 25M Makes Its First Flight

San Diego – 25 January 2024 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) conducted the first flight of the Gray Eagle 25M (GE-25M) Unmanned Aircraft System at its El Mirage, Calif. flight facility on Dec. 5, 2023. The first flight marks a significant milestone in the Gray Eagle modernization program as the U.S. Army continues to develop the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO)-capable GE-25Ms for U.S. Army active duty and National Guard units. The flight follows the award of an undefinitized contract on Dec. 1, 2023, not to exceed $389 million for the Gray Eagle 25M Production Representative Test Aircraft. The GE-25M is expected to be in service for the Army into the 2050’s.

The first flight of Gray Eagle 25M focused on flight critical operations, including the testing of the improved flight computer boasting 5X more processing capacity and 80X more data storage (with 10X more RAM) for increased computing power that enables processing at the edge, as well as meeting the demand for increased automation and autonomy. The flight tested the aircraft’s new HFE 2.0 engine and power generation systems. Designed in cooperation with Project Manager Endurance Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (PM EUAS), the new engine, gearbox, and generator design decreases major maintenance actions and virtually eliminates the need for overhaul.

“In an MDO environment, Soldiers need the aircraft to operate with increased reliability along with reduced manning and equipment, which is why GE-25M significantly reduces the maintenance required on the aircraft,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander.

GE-25M’s more powerful generators combined with advanced avionics enable the aircraft to function as a Multi-Domain Operations ‘truck’ with the ability to utilize a variety of advanced multi-intelligence sensors, launched effects, and electronic warfare pods.

GA-ASI is teamed with PM EUAS to deliver a government-owned, government-controlled open architecture that will enable plug and play capabilities, ensuring the platform can adapt to changing threats in the future. GE-25M incorporates open architecture aircraft and ground systems, advanced datalinks, and an upgraded propulsion system, significantly enhancing the ability to add new capabilities, provide resilience to electronic threats, and deliver expeditionary employment to austere locations.

Photo courtesy GA-ASI