Army unmanned vehicles experts are building a special airport for Grey Eagle and Shadow at the Fort Bliss Army post near El Paso, Texas, to support the Army's 1st Armored Division.
At Fort Bliss the 5,000-feet paved runway is for the Grey Eagle, and the 1,000-foot paved runway is for the Shadow. The air facilities will include a 1,000-foot cleared and graded dirt safety run-out zone at each end of the Grey Eagle airfield.
Construction of the UAV airport at Fort Bliss is part of a larger Army plan begun in 2012 to equip each Army combat division with UAVs. The Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at Fort Eustis, Va., is overseeing an Army reorganization to put a Grey Eagle company in every Army division. Grey Eagle is a medium-sized diesel-powered UAV that is 29 feet long with a wingspan of 56.3 feet. It can fly as fast as 170 miles per hour for as long as 36 hours at altitudes to 29,000 feet. The UAV is an upgraded and armed version of the MQ-1 Predator.
The Army's 1st Armored Division headquartered at Fort Bliss, which the new UAV airport will support, operates the M1A2SEP Abrams main battle tank; M2A3 & M3A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles; M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer; M1151 Humvee and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicles; Stryker wheeled armored vehicle; the UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter; AH-64 Apache attack helicopter; and other pieces of combat equipment. The division consists of two heavy brigade combat teams, infantry brigade combat teams, a Stryker brigade, an artillery brigade, a sustainment brigade, and combat aviation brigade.