MQ-1C Gray Eagle (Photo by Christopher Shadrock)
FORT HOOD (March 6, 2013) -- Fort Hood soldiers celebrated 100 hours of incident free training with the new MQ-1C Gray Eagle on Wednesday morning.
Soldiers began training with the unmanned aircraft in late January, using the airfield at night when there was no commercial airlines sharing the airspace.
Wednesday was the first time the aircraft was used during joint use of the airspace, but officials say they expect no conflict with commercial flights.
The aircraft has a wing span of 56 feet, weighs 3,600 pounds, and can fly as high as 25,000 feet for as long as 24 hours at a time.
This also marked the first time training for the Gray Eagle was brought to Fort Hood.
"Previously, we had to send soldiers away from their homes and away from their families. Now we have the capability to do that at their home station." Neil Hersey, Commander of the 21st Calvary Brigade Combat, said.
"It has to help protect our soldiers on the ground and provide commanders valuable information, so they can make decisions,” he said.
Next up, the crew members will be training with the weapon system using a laser and doing more integration with ground crews.
There will be no live ordinance training.