PEO Aviation Closes Sky Warrior Alpha Program

By David HyltonSeptember 2, 2022

Two Soldiers (left and center) from Quick Reaction Capability 1, attached to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Division - Center, and a civilian contractor from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems run the MQ-1C Sky Warrior aircraft through a series of preflight checks before conducting a 24-hour operation in January 2010.
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two Soldiers (left and center) from Quick Reaction Capability 1, attached to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Division - Center, and a civilian contractor from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems run the MQ-1C Sky Warrior aircraft through a series of preflight checks before conducting a 24-hour operation in January 2010. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Travis Zielinski) VIEW ORIGINAL
An MQ-1C Sky Warrior aircraft from Quick Reaction Capability 1, attached to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Division - Center, lands at Camp Taji, Iraq after completing a 24-hour mission, January 2011. The Soldiers of QRC1 conducted daily operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – An MQ-1C Sky Warrior aircraft from Quick Reaction Capability 1, attached to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Division - Center, lands at Camp Taji, Iraq after completing a 24-hour mission, January 2011. The Soldiers of QRC1 conducted daily operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Travis Zielinski) VIEW ORIGINAL
Don Cattell, General Atomics VP of Army Programs, Col. Scott Anderson, UAS project manager and Lt. Col. Christopher Getter, EUAS product manager cut the ribbon at the Sky Warrior Alpha static display dedication ceremony.
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Don Cattell, General Atomics VP of Army Programs, Col. Scott Anderson, UAS project manager and Lt. Col. Christopher Getter, EUAS product manager cut the ribbon at the Sky Warrior Alpha static display dedication ceremony. (Photo Credit: David Hylton ) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sky Warrior Alpha tail number WA106 as seen before the dedication ceremony.
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sky Warrior Alpha tail number WA106 as seen before the dedication ceremony. (Photo Credit: David Hylton) VIEW ORIGINAL
An MQ-1C Sky Warrior unmanned aircraft system from Quick Reaction Capability 1, attached to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Division - Center, sits dormant in a hangar at Camp Taji, Iraq in January 2011. The Sky Warrior aircraft was able to remain airborne for up to 24 hours straight to conduct continuous missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – An MQ-1C Sky Warrior unmanned aircraft system from Quick Reaction Capability 1, attached to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Division - Center, sits dormant in a hangar at Camp Taji, Iraq in January 2011. The Sky Warrior aircraft was able to remain airborne for up to 24 hours straight to conduct continuous missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Travis Zielinski ) VIEW ORIGINAL

Col. Scott Anderson, project manager Unmanned Aircraft Systems for PEO Aviation, dedicated Sky Warrior Alpha 106 – a retired Sky Warrior Alpha – for static display at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama on 1 Sept. The dedication ceremony symbolically closed the Army’s Warrior Alpha program.

In his remarks Anderson said “it's people that matter. The people over time, handing it off to the next generation who have that same focus of helping the Soldier…by delivering capabilities to the Soldier. That’s what this is about. Not so much about an aircraft sitting over there, that’s cool stuff…but it’s the people gathered here… that’s why we are here today. To celebrate their dedication and achievements.”

The aircraft system, originally known as the IGNAT, took its maiden flight at El Mirage, Calif. in Feb. 2004. A month later, the IGNAT aircraft were flying combat operations over Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As combat requirements increased, the IGNATs were modified by adding KU-band satellite communications and Beyond Line-of-Sight capability. With the addition of these capabilities, the IGNAT was redesignated as the Sky Warrior Alpha.

A predecessor of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, Warrior Alpha is a medium-altitude, long endurance UAS. According to Lt. Col. Chris Getter, Endurance UAS product manager, the Army acquired 17 total systems. During the program’s 18 years of operations, Warrior Alpha aircraft completed more than 19,600 sorties with more than 245,000 flight hours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WA106, the aircraft on display near Program Executive Office Aviation headquarters, conducted its first flight in January 2007 and the final flight in May 2020. The aircraft’s first combat flight occurred February 2007 and its last combat flight happened over eight years later in December 2015. WA106 fired the first HELLFIRE missile from an Army UAS in combat in July 2008 and its longest flight lasted more than 27 hours. During its service, WA106 flew 1,435 sorties, for a total of 23,177 hours.