Defense Department announced April 12th 2011 that the US Army had awarded a $173,458,076 contract to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. covering Low Rate Initial Production of Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft systems. the announcement also specified that contract completion target date is April 30th 2014.
The Gray Eagle also referred to as the Sky Warrior Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is an improved version of the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator. the Gray Eagle / Sky Eagle provides US Army with a long endurance Intelligence, Surveillance and reconnaissance platform using the Northrop Grummn Starlite AN/ZPY-1 Tactical Endurance Synthetic Aperture radar (TESAR) with Synthetic Aperture radar/Ground Moving Indicator for producing high resolution imagery . Weighing in at only 65 pounds, the AN/ZPY-1 is carried installed aboard the 56 ft (17 m) wingspan, 3,200 pounds Gray Eagle on missions cruising at 150 knots at a 29,000 ft altitude. The Grey Eagle’s 135 horsepower piston engine built by German aircraft engine manufacturer THIELERT GmbH provides 30-plus hours long endurance operations using diesel ‘heavy’ fuel. Additionally the Grey Eagle uses an electro-optical/infra-red targeting pod mounted under its nose to acquire and engage ground targets with 4 hellfire AGM-114 missiles.