General Atomics' New Drone Radar Can Track Balsa Wood Drones for Targeting

Called "Eagle Eye," General Atomics' new "Gray Eagle" radar system can track and monitor small drones for destruction. The Gray Eagle 25M variant features open-architecture aircraft and ground systems, a more powerful engine, advanced data links, and extended range. GA has been developing "Eagle Eye" for years, but the work on the program significantly accelerated in the past five years, according to Shortsleeve. Shortsleeve acknowledged that GA has received interest from various nations regarding its new system. 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. Photos 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.

General Atomics' "Eagle Eye" multidomain surveillance radar systems will be fitted on the U.S. Army's "Gray Eagle" drones. According to Mike Shortsleeve, Vice President of Defense Department strategic development at GA, these drones, dubbed the 25M variant, are already in production with the "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 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. For details, visit Watch a background video on the Gray Eagle, here.

Our thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, for his assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in the USN # 23 - 17 - 20 OCTOBER 2023 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN). David distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every three to four weeks as well as serial news flashes, from which this NREF news update was sourced. To be included in his distribution, simply send a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.