General Atomics’ new “Eagle Eye” Gray Eagle radar system can track and monitor small balsa drones for targeting and destruction. The Gray Eagle 25M drone features open-architecture, a more powerful engine, advanced data links, and extended range. According to Mike Shortsleeve, Vice President of Defense Department strategic development at GA, these drones, dubbed the 25M variant, are already in production with Eagle Eye installed. Shortsleeve made the announcement in a 9-October 2023 interview at the Association of the U.S. Army’s conference in Washington. GA development of Eagle Eye has accelerated in the past five years, according to Shortsleeve. In May, GA reported that the “Eagle Eye” radar system could detect and track a small fixed-wing drone made of balsa wood. This drone was much smaller than what the military forces would usually face in an actual combat situation. Shown are “foamie” almost-ready-to-fly (ARF) models that are made from tough molded foam with balsa and light ply reinforcement spars and formers in an image provided in the GA Eagle Eye news update. GA is set to deliver the first batch of twelve “Gray Eagle” 25Ms equipped with “Eagle Eye” to the Army National Guard in the latter half of 2026. Another six to twelve units will be delivered to the active duty Army. Photos of RC balsa aircraft visible to Gray Eagle radar show a Bruce Tharpe Engineering Super Hauler and a modified powered RC Klingberg Wing (the latter built and flown by this reporter)–both balsa and light-ply kits are pictured ‘in the bones” to reveal the light construction visible to the new radar. For details, visit Interestingengineering.com. Watch a video on the Gray Eagle, here.
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