Defense

February 8, 2013

Divisions will get 9 Gray Eagles to train, but deploy with 12

Tags:
C. Todd Lopez
Army News

An MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft makes its way down an airfield on Camp Taji, Iraq, before a surveillance mission in the Baghdad area, in this undated file photo. The Army plans additional Gray Eagle units, one for each of 10 active-duty divisions, and several more for special operations units, aerial exploitation units and the National Training Center.

The Army plans additional Gray Eagle units, one for each of 10 active-duty divisions, and several more for special operations units, aerial exploitation units and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

With the current program of record, a purchase of 152 Gray Eagles in total, the Army won’t have enough of the aircraft to give a full assignment of 12 aircraft to every one of the divisions it plans on equipping; so some may get as few as nine aircraft. But when those units go downrange, they will get a full component, Army aviation officials said.

“The plan is, when a Gray Eagle company deploys, like we have downrange now with F-227 (Aviation), they would deploy with a full complement of three platoons of four aircraft, or 12 aircraft total,” said Col. Timothy Baxter, project manager, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, during a media roundtable, Feb. 4.
Those extra aircraft would come from other units who are not deploying.

“[U.S. Army Forces Command] would task organize from other Gray Eagle companies to make sure when they are deployed in harm’s way, they would have a full 12,” said Jeff Crabb, deputy product manager, Medium Altitude Endurance UAS. “That’s the current strategy.”

The direction to equip the combat aviation brigades within all Army divisions with the Gray Eagle came from Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno. But the Army plans to buy 152 of the aircraft to distribute among those units.

“The only way you could do that without buying more assets is to reduce the numbers,” Crabb said.

The Army has contracted for 103 Gray Eagles to date.

Today, the Army has one Gray Eagle company already deployed, Company F, 227th Combat Aviation Brigade, or CAB, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
While deployed in Afghanistan, it is assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Company F, 227th CAB, is equipped now with 12 aircraft, and will retain all 12 when it returns home sometime within the next two months. The 1st Cavalry Division also has an additional company of 12 Gray Eagle aircraft, Company E, 227th Combat Aviation Brigade.

Another company, Company F, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan., also with 12 Gray Eagles, will replace F-227 within the next 90 days, officials said. They now have an advance party already in theater, and are preparing to deploy soon.

Also in Afghanistan now are two “quick reaction capability” units, each with four Gray Eagle aircraft. Those two QRC units have been deployed since 2009. The first was deployed initially to Operation Iraqi Freedom and stayed though until the end of Operation New Dawn before moving on to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The second QRC has always been in Afghanistan.

The Army is also fielding another company to the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga. And by October, another to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The 160th may end up with two companies of 12 aircraft each.

Baxter said it’s been a “busy year” for the Gray Eagle program, which has culminated with the director of operational testing and evaluation publishing a “beyond low rate initial production” report for Gray Eagle IOT&E that was conducted last July and August.

The report “deemed us effective, operationally suitable, and meeting our survivability and force protection key performance parameters on the program,” Baxter said. Additionally, he said, a “number of recommendations” came out of the Beyond LRIP report, involving maturing tactics, techniques and procedures on the Gray Eagle program, improving training on the program, improving doctrine across the Army on the program with respect to Gray Eagle and all UAS, and also maturing the manned/unmanned teaming capabilities.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 
 
LM-C130

U.S. Air Force receives additional MC-130J Commando II

MARIETTA, Ga., Aug. 27, 2015 – A crew from the U.S. Air Force Aug. 27 ferried a new MC-130J Commando II aircraft assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command to Cannon Air Force Base, N.., from the Lockheed Martin facilit...
 

 
af-uav4

Arming the RPAs

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Joseph Swafford A1C Matthew Lopez (center), 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron munitions systems technician, builds a GPS-guided GBU-49 bomb at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2015...
 
 
dragon-lady1

Local efforts help keep Dragon Lady flying at 60

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings A U-2 Dragon Lady soars above the flightline at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Jan. 22, 2014. The low-altitude handling characteristics of the aircraft and bicycle-type lan...
 
 
Air Force photograph

U.S. Navy awards production contract for additional P-8A aircraft, first RAAF planes

Air Force photograph A P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft parked on the tarmac during a BALTOPS 2015 mission on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, June 9, 2015. The U.S. Navy awarded a nearl...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>