ER/MP Gray Eagle: Enhanced MQ-1C Predators for the Army
December 2/15: A US Air Force MQ-1 squadron has been deactivated in Djibouti, raising doubts over the continued use of UAVs in combat operations based out of the area. The 60th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron had flown over 24,000 hours between November 2014 and October 2015. During this period, the MQ-1s neutralized 69 enemy fighters, including five high valued individuals. Based out of camp Lemonnier, the MQ-1s were involved in operations not only on the African continent, but in the Gulf region as well. It is unclear if other units are operating UAV missions from the base or its network of camps and outposts or if the 60th is to be replaced.
Its initial battles were fought within the Pentagon, but the US Army’s high-end UAV has made its transition to the battlefield.
The ER/MP program was part of the US Army’s reinvestment of dollars from the canceled RAH-66 Comanche helicopter program, and directly supports the Army’s Aviation Modernization Plan. The US Air Force saw this Predator derivative as a threat and tried to destroy it, but the program survived the first big “Key West” battle of the 21st century. Now, the MQ-1C “Gray Eagle” is in production as the US Army’s high-end UAV. As CENTCOM’s wars end, however, the Gray Eagle may find that staying in the fleet is as hard as getting there.
This FOCUS article offers a program history, key statistics and budget figures, and ongoing coverage of the program’s contracts and milestones.
The MQ-1C Gray Eagle, and its Band of Brothers
The Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle
Sensors and Add-Ons
The Army’s ER/MP Program
Contracts & Key Events
FY 2014 – 2015
FY 2008 – 2009
FY 2005 – 2007
Appendix A: US Army et. al. vs. USAF Over UAVs
Appendix B: Who Controls the UAVs? Readings & Primers
Background: Gray Eagle UAVs & Related Tech
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