Grey Eagle Company Joins 160th SOAR

Gray EagleThe Army’s elite special operation aviation regiment welcomed its first ever MQ-1C Gray Eagle company last month.

The high end drone is almost an exact replicate of the Air Force’s MQ-1 Predator. It is capable of carrying Hellfire missiles as well as a host of sensor suites to include radars, signal intelligence and high definition cameras.

Adding a Gray Eagle company to 160th SOAR means Army Special Forces units can have an organic MQ-1 aircraft under their control and will lessen the dependence on the Air Force to supply intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). However, Special Forces will still need to depend on the Air Force as one company will not be able to satisfy all of Army Special Forces’ needs, but it should be especially helpful in training.

The 160th SOAR already has an organic Unmanned Aircraft Systems platoon that consists of RQ-7 Shadows, but the addition of the MQ-1C is a major step up, 160th SOAR officials said.

“It’s like comparing apples and elephants,” Sgt. First Class Jason Guenther, U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command UAS NCOIC, said in a statement. “There’s no comparisons between the Shadow and the Eagle.”

“The Shadow is geared towards a specific area of operations, Guenther said. “The Gray Eagle can go anywhere; it has greater endurance and a larger range.”

16oth SOAR slotted the Grey Eagles in E Company, which will be temporarily stationed at For Huachuca, Ariz. The company will be made up of roughly 12 Gray Eagles and 165 personnel. Once construction is complete, E Company will be permanently stationed in Fort Campbell, Ky.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Andy

    What about the Marine’s and Navy ?

    • Hector Q

      The Navy has the X-47B demonstration UAV which can operate from carriers, go long distances, and which will eventually become the basis for a fully operational platform.

  • I can imagine a conversation like this:

    Q: Dang, you fly for 160th SOAR?
    A: .. yeah ..
    Q: What do you fly?
    A: a drone…

  • hibeam

    All the drones in the world won’t do any good if the Commander in Golf is too timid to use them.

  • just a little editorial nit-picking but…
    The title of the article calls it the “Grey Eagle” but within the article itself, it is referred to as the “GRAY Eagle”. Which is it?

  • jamesb

    Now the Army’s SOAR just needs to deliver these assets via their OWN C-27J’s….

    How sweet…..

    • Bronco46

      I like it! Good call!

    • RunningBear

      You mean, MC-27J! (new to the Italian Air Force (AMI), 2014) :)

  • Army SF are not only limited to TF160 and Air Force Predators. The conventional Army has been flying predators since 2008. Hellfires have been launched in Afghanistan last year. 50 systems are in operation with over two companies of a targeted 10 fielded.

    A key difference in Air Force and Army predator application is that the Army attaches its predators to the ground commander so they are available when needed vs. having to compete with all units in theatre for support. The operators are also stationed with the ground unit so they develop relationships with the supported unit vs. every mission potentially being a first time event for someone in the equation.

  • Jay D Levine

    Why don,t they just call it Sky King instead of grey eagle?

  • Jay D Levine

    grey eagle sounds like a drunk old indian

  • Jay D Levine

    this is the type of MOS i wanted to be in instead of Air Defense Artillery, I use to fly Teeny Weeny Airlines (RCMAT) for the ADA Units

  • Jamesb

    thanks for the 411 majrOd….

    Now maybe if the Army could ‘borrow’ some A-10’s or Tuscano’s?

  • gt350

    How about Mohammad’s EYE. just couldn’t resist .

  • ENJ

    Apparently Mr. Hoffman, you need to verify your sources. It is not only the Air Force that provides assistance in ISR for SOAR units. The Army has been flying MQ-1Cs for a while, so to say that it only is dependent upon Air Force Predators that are flown from a control station in the States is a gross error.

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