4 MQ-1C UAS with Hellfire ASMs and STARLite Radar for Ukraine

WASHINGTON — Four MQ-1C Gray Eagle medium-altitude, long-endurance [MALE] unmanned aircraft systems [UAS] are part of the White House’s plans to sell to Ukraine. The information comes from Mike Stone, a Reuters journalist.

4 MQ-1C UAS with Hellfire ASMs and STARLite Radar for Ukraine
Photo: Wikimedia

Mike Stone cited three government sources, and according to them, the administration of US President Joe Biden is preparing to ask Congress for such a sale. The proposal, which will soon be addressed to Congress, includes the sale of four MQ-1C Gray Eagles and their armament with the AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile [ASM].

If Ukraine acquires these four unmanned aerial systems, it will receive high-tech drones that can fly 30 hours in the air, conduct deep reconnaissance, and attack enemy positions.

However, the last word will be with Congress, not US President Joe Biden. Ie Congress may block such a sale. According to Mike Stone’s sources, there is a risk [they do not specify how big] that the policy will be changed at the last minute, which will fail the planned sale. The Joe Biden administration is expected to take steps to notify Congress in the coming days.

MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS

The MQ-1C Gray Eagle is a medium-altitude, long-endurance [MALE] unmanned aircraft system [UAS] developed by the American company General Atomics. This drone was once known as Warrior or Sky Warrior. He made his first flight in 2004, and in 2009 joined the US Air Force.

This drone is a weapon in the United States. He has participated in some military operations in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, operations against Islamic State, and is stationed at some US military bases around the world, such as Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. So far, 75 units have been produced by the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, but another 152 units have been ordered.

The drone weighs 360 kg and has a max takeoff weight of 3,600 lb [1,633 kg]. Powered by a Thielert Centurion 1.7 Heavy-Fuel Engine, 165 hp [123 kW]. The maximum speed that can be reached is 167 kn [192 mph, 309 km / h], and its service ceiling: is 29,000 ft [8,839.2 m].

Ukraine may get 4 MQ-1C UAS with Hellfire ASMs and STARLite Radar
Photo: Wikipedia

The drone is equipped with a tactical AN / ZPY-1 STARLite Radar. MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS can carry the following weapons: four hardpoints, four AGM-114 Hellfire or with AIM-92 Stinger missiles, and four GBU-44 / B Viper Strike bombs.

AGM-114 Hellfire

New General Atomics UAV launches record 16 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The AGM-114 Hellfire is an American air-to-surface missile [ASM] manufactured by Lockheed Martin and Northrup Gruman. It was developed in the 70s of the last century and from 1984 to the present day, its various variations are in service around the world. 30 countries are currently operating this missile and have documented involvement in dozens of military conflicts around the world.

The rocket weighs 100-108 lb [45-49 kg]. Its diameter is 7 in [180 mm]. Depending on its purpose and the variation used, the missile can be equipped with several types of warheads: high-explosive anti-tank, shaped charge, tandem anti-armor, metal augmented charge, and blast fragmentation.

The AGM-114 Hellfire is powered by a Thiokol TX-657 solid-fuel rocket engine, has a range of 550 to 12,030 yd [0.5 to 11 km], and reaches a top speed of Mach 1.3 [995 mph, 1,601 km / h]. The guidance system is made of semi-active laser homing and millimeter-wave radar seeker.


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