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.

      • Bronco46

        I haven’t seen any weapons bays mentioned in the X-47 specs. Have I missed something? Without weapons the X-47 would have less capabilities then the
        Grey Eagle.

        • Navy Seal 9009

          Naval Air Systems Command has set the parameters for the X-47 which would allow it to carry ground attack weapons.

      • Riceball

        The X-47B is only a tech demonstrator, it’s not meant to be an operational aircraft. The Navy is simply using it to test the concept, develop tactics, and operational procedures and once that’s all done and over with the Navy will then (in theory) work on developing an operational UCAS. Of course with the budget cuts and all it may be possible that the future Navy UCAS will end up be an X-47 minus the X.

  • I can imagine a conversation like this:

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

    • andy

      Dude, Drone can sneak in and kill the Terrorist without hearing or seeing can the F18 or any other fighter jet do the same ?????

      • FormerDirtDart


        • andy

          first of.
          F18 cannot circle around the village 24 hours quietly…get it ?

          • andy

            speaking of moron, ya’ll should know Drone are use for ?

          • tiger

            Uh, do not knock it. They are doing more bad guy killing than most other pilots. Plus no down pilots to rescue.

        • andy

          Umn…no, the Army can call in for air support but the Enemy can hear they coming…

      • Bronco46

        And it won’t leave behind a classified tail rotor either

      • Nathan
      • Yes. I’ve had fast movers do high speed low level passes and be gone before I ever knew they were there. They could have nailed me from miles away as they fly much higher than a drone.

        • Terrible1

          Usually fast movers fly lower than drones.

          • You have to read what I was saying in context and as a response to andy’s post.

            The predator’s service ceiling is 25k feet. Fast movers typically fly at higher altitudes to conserve fuel and when conducting air to ground come down. Predators operate from the higher altitude. Global Hawk even higher. The majority of other drones, e.g. Shadows, Ravens, Fire Scouts etc. typically operate at lower altitudes.

    • Terrible1

      The 160th SOAR gray eagle company was activated nov 13 and has been supporting two sites since then. I’ll let you guess where the two sites are.

  • hibeam

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

    • Bronco46

      I am no fan of the current President and have been voting Republican since Reagan; but this President has been blasting the hell out of lots of people (even and American or two). What’s surprising about that is the whole of the Democratic party has been quiet about that. You have wonder if President Bush, or if Romney had gotten elected they would have gotten the same pass.

    • Musson

      The President is Mr. Drone. He went so far as to tell his White House crew that he was ‘really good at killing people.’ He has used the drones far more than anyone else. I don’t like the guy. But, he has had no hesitation in employing drones.

    • Really?

      hibeam, my friend, you are so good at writing sarcasms.

      Under Obama, US military has killed tens of thousands in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and some other N. African and M.E. countries. Many of such killings involved use of drones day and night. Some human rights organizations claim the figure may be over 100,000. Remember, such killings are all in violation of international law, i.e. they are war crimes. The US can do it because nobody in the world can take US leaders to court.

      As you know, Obama is a Nobel Peace prize holder. Yet the number of civilians killed by US military drones far exceeds that under GW Bush and Cheney. (note: killed by drones, not other means).

      Obama deserves a Nobel War prize now.

  • 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

    • tiger

      All Army Aviation tools use American Indian names. Ie. Apache, Blackhawk, Iroquois.


      • Really?

        Seems there are more Army Aviation tools with American Indians names than actual number of American Indians still alive.

  • 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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