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Army National Guard to Receive GE-25M Drones

General Atomics UAS Enhances ARNG Lethality

Founded in 1955, General Atomics is an American, San Diego-headquartered defense concern with foci in physics research in support of nuclear fission and fusion energy, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), airborne sensors, and advanced electric, electronic, wireless, and laser technologies.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has announced the U.S. Army National Guard (ARNG) had received fiscal year 2023 Congressional funding for a dozen new Gray Eagle 25M Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The funding was provided at the request of Army National Guard States seeking to acquire subject UASs for purpose of rendering their respective divisions—which collectively constitute 45-percent of the U.S. Army’s combat forces—Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) capable and better-able to team with newly-formed Division Artillery Brigades (DIVARTY). The GE-25Ms will be available, also, to support domestic missions the likes of homeland defense and disaster response.

The Gray Eagle 25M (GE-25M) is a Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) UAS developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for the United States Army as an upgrade of the company’s MQ-1 Predator. The GE-25M features a Modular, Open-Systems Approach (MOSA) to the MDO-capable system that ensures incremental enhancements can be made to the vehicle at the speed of emerging threats.

The M in 25M stands for Modernized; and the UAS, consistent with its appellation, incorporates open architecture aircraft and ground systems, advanced datalinks, and an upgraded propulsion system which, in the aggregate, facilitate new capabilities, resilience to electronic threats, and expeditionary deployment to austere locations.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems vice-president of Army programs Don Cattell stated: “GE-25M incorporates MOSA across the aircraft and ground system architectures, which enables rapid integration of advanced payloads and communication equipment, along with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities. This will reduce the sensor-to-shooter timelines, while simultaneously reducing the datalink bandwidth requirements in a contested environment, thus increasing range and resiliency.”

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems vice-president of DOD strategic development Patrick Shortsleeve added: “The GE-25M UAS is a very versatile aircraft. Gray Eagle is a valuable tool that gives the ARNG capabilities that match the organizational and doctrinal Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) requirements of active Army divisions with up to forty-hours of continuous flight.”

The GE-25M is equipped with General Atomics’s new Eagle-Eye multi-mode radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors, and is capable of hosting a wide range of kinetic and non-kinetic payloads. The new platform provides critical Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Intelligence (RSI) and  Target Acquisition capabilities to division commanders, thereby acting in the metaphorical quarterback capacity, providing a persistent, key communication node in the aerial tier network.

Equipping ARNG divisions with GE-25Ms makes possible the mission planning, communications, and real-time coordination essential to modern combat, and affords commanders—for the first time in ARNG history—divisional ISR capabilities.

The Gray Eagle UAS has a proven performance record comprising millions of hours of safe operations. The aircraft excels in the entirety of its design functions, and is an integral part of the U.S. Army’s aviation team, operating in coordination with manned rotary-wing systems to achieve overmatch against near-peer threats.

By provisioning the ARNG with General Atomics’s GE-25M, the DOD contemporaneously ups the composite force’s lethality and spreads its operational burden more broadly. ARNG Gray Eagle-equipped companies will have the capability to deploy to operational theaters and local conflicts formerly the sole province of Regular Army Gray Eagle units.



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