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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) has completed initial flight tests of a new brushless generator system on a company-owned GRAY EAGLE Extended Range (GE-ER) UAS at Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. The initial flight test of the system marks an important milestone towards upgrading the GE-ER fleet with generators that will significantly improve reliability and dramatically reduce platform sustainment costs. The new generator also provides electrical power to support expanding mission scenarios for the UAS.

The new generator performed aircraft ground and flight tests for over 44 hours testing up to maximum electrical power output across the full GE-ER flight envelope and at engine power levels from idle up to maximum rated thrust.

The brushless generator is designed as a GE-ER drop-in replacement for the current alternator to help make the upgrade seamless for maintainers in the field. The brushless design eliminates scheduled depot service for brush replacement every 300 hours on the current alternator, reducing depot, shipping, and spare inventory costs. The new generator system can provide up to 14 KW of power – more than a 50 per cent increase over the current system – and provide up to 10 KW for sensors and payloads required for flight in a Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) environment.

The increased power output of the brushless generator system supports new suites of advanced sensors that are in development, such as the Multi-Domain Sensing System, which enables GE-ER to employ long-range sensing and targeting for Long Range Precision Fires and Future Vertical Lift ecosystems that are part of MDO. The generator can support all modes of flight simultaneously, including Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW), as well as communications intelligence, electronic intelligence, electro-optical/infrared sensing and synthetic aperture radar capabilities.

Jack Richardson