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General Atomics has launched a new radar, the Eagle Eye, which will transform Gray Eagle drones into anti-drone hunters. This innovation comes at a pivotal time when the use of drones in conflicts is on a significant rise.
A New Surveillance Tool on the Battlefield
The Eagle Eye is the latest offering from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in the realm of multidomain surveillance radars. Designed to enhance the capabilities of the U.S. Army, it will allow them to track and even take down the smallest of drones. Mike Shortsleeve, Vice President of Strategic Development for the Defense Department within the company, confirmed that Gray Eagle 25M drones equipped with the Eagle Eye are now in production.
According to a technical sheet from General Atomics, the Eagle Eye’s synthetic aperture radar can detect targets up to 80 km away in high resolution and up to 200 km for maritime surveillance. These figures showcase a significant technological advancement in drone detection and monitoring, regardless of their size.
The Rising Importance of Drones in Current Conflicts
Recent conflicts, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the clashes between Israel and Hamas, underscore the growing importance of drones in warfare. Notably, Hamas used small explosive-laden drones to catch the Israeli military off guard. As technological advancements like artificial intelligence and machine learning progress, and as the costs of such systems decrease, the drone threat is expected to intensify.
A Tailored Response to Emerging Threats
For General Atomics, the Eagle Eye represents a fitting answer to this growing threat. Gray Eagles equipped with this radar will work in tandem with other systems dedicated to neutralizing enemy drones. The idea is for the Gray Eagle to identify and track the target and then relay this information to another counter-drone platform that will take it down using a more cost-effective weapon.
Mike Shortsleeve mentioned recent tests wherein the Eagle Eye was able to detect and track a small fixed-wing drone made of balsa wood, much smaller than what troops might typically encounter in the field. Furthermore, a test at the end of 2022 utilized the radar to shoot down a drone, thus verifying its efficacy.
General Atomics plans to deliver the first batch of 12 Eagle Eye-equipped Gray Eagle 25Ms to the Army National Guard by the second half of 2026. More units will follow for the active-duty Army. Moreover, the technological evolution at the heart of Eagle Eye has dramatically sped up over the past five years.
A Future Dominated by Drones
As Shortsleeve highlights, the proliferation of drones in operational theaters is exponential. In the future, they will undeniably play a dominant role on the battlefield during extensive military operations.
The introduction of the Eagle Eye signifies a shift in how armies perceive the escalating drone threat. By equipping Gray Eagles with this cutting-edge radar, General Atomics provides a relevant solution to counter enemy drones. As modern warfare rapidly evolves, innovations like this reaffirm the need for global armies to continually adapt to the ever-changing realities of the battlefield.
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