FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The Gray Eagle is an unmanned aerial vehicle -- a drone.
As the Army moves from the counter insurgency tactics of Iraq and Afghanistan to decisive action it would face from more sophisticated militaries, the Gray Eagle can be a key weapon.
"In order to deliver fires, for the artillery to shoot, to mask those mortars, those fires, the F-16s, everything in a certain area, that's what you're trying to do. You're trying to mask all of those against one of these big formations. What do you think is the cue? The cue that says, 'Hey start shooting.' It's one of these little aircraft," Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Bannister said.
Right now, Fort Drum has several units training on them and a couple other models. But during training, the Gray Eagle isn't allowed to fly where Fort Drum needs it to.
Bannister is hoping his soldiers can train the way they fight.
"That's the things that I'm more interested in, using our systems here like we use them in combat," Bannister said. "Why tie our hands at home when we don't have our hands tied in combat?"
It's all about the airpsace, where it can fly and how high it can fly in an 8,000 nautical square mile airspace around Fort Drum that bumps up to 12,000 if you include an area over Lake Ontairo.
Bannister says right now, the post is talking with the Federal Aviation Administration about increasing the limits Fort Drum has in that space, much like the Air Force can do now. Although he recognizies it wasn't easy for that organization either.
"The Air Force Reapers can fly through all that airspace I just told you about and then some. Higher altitudes and all that. With us, our Gray Eagles, we're kind of having to go through that same fight the Air Force did," Bannister said.
Bannister says that especially now, when all of these units are home getting in proper training, what they'd see in combat is a big deal.
Also a part of that land use study is on wind turbines, and whether they would affect aviation and drone training. There are concerns that turbines could interfere with radar systems.