by Ryan Maass
Fort Irwin, Calif. (UPI) Jan 14, 2016
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District along with officials and contractors broke ground at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, beginning the construction of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System facility.
The facility will include a 52,000 square-foot hangar, aircraft container storage, taxiway, repair shops, and a parking lot. Additional work includes repairs to the existing runway, taxiway and access apron.
"This project is one that will make a significant contribution to the National Training Center's ability to conduct tough and realistic training," Los Angeles District commander Col. Kirk Gibbs said in a statement. "The Los Angeles District Fort Irwin Team pushed hard to award this contract."
Construction is expected to be complete by 2017.
The MQ-1C Gray Eagle is an unmanned aerial vehicle follow-up to the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator in service with the U.S. Army. The aircraft is designed as a medium-altitude long endurance vehicle, and can be used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. It can also carry a payload of 800 pounds, including armaments such as Hellfire missiles.
Modifications to its Predator predecessor include increased horsepower and fuel efficiency. The Gray Eagle can use both jet and diesel fuel.
Saab delivering U.S.-made quadcopter drones to Swedish Police
Three Qube quadcopters from AeroVironment will be delivered. Each unmanned helicopter system features day/night sensors and a ground control station.
Saab said spare parts, consumables, documentation, training and technical support are part of the contract which will be in effect until 2018.
"This move to provide unmanned systems to support government services gives us a good foundation to evolve this technology further," said Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab's Support and Services business area. "The contract also strengthens our support and maintenance services for civil security applications."
The value of the contract to supply the aircraft was not disclosed.
The Qube unmanned helicopter is a portable, packaged system that fits in the trunk of a car and can be assembled and ready for flight in less than five minutes. It features dual high-resolution color and thermal cameras, 40 minutes of endurance, a range of 0.62 miles and an operational altitude up to 500 feet.
Saab has extensive experience with unmanned aerial vehicle systems. Since the mid-1990s Saab has been responsible for systems and support for the Swedish Army's UAV Ugglan, UAV Ornen and SUAV Falken.
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