General Atomics has unveiled a new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capable of short takeoffs and landings that packs more firepower than any previous company version.
Called the Mojave, the aircraft’s development remained under wraps until Breaking Defense revealed its existence last month, also reporting on its first flight in the summer.
The developer has incorporated the avionics and flight control systems of the MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1C Gray Eagle-ER in Mojave’s design, adding features to enhance survivability in a more rugged and austere environment.
Moreover, the platform’s “enlarged wings with high-lift devices, and a 450-HP turboprop engine” allows it to carry more payload —16 hellfire missiles or equivalent.
— GA-ASI (@GenAtomics_ASI) December 9, 2021
Fit for ‘Forward-basing Ops’
“Mojave provides options for forward-basing operations without the need for typical airport runways or infrastructure. It can land and takeoff from unimproved surfaces while also retaining significant advantages in endurance and persistence over manned aircraft,” the developer wrote.
“These innovations make Mojave the perfect UAS to perform armed overwatch, attack and armed reconnaissance missions.”
Increased Payload Capacity
The aircraft features an increased payload capacity of 3,600 pounds (1,633 kg) and possesses “endurance, power, and cooling for sensors or other mission systems.”
GA-ASI CEO Linden Blue referred to the Mojave as a “long-endurance, armed overwatch UAS that can quickly reload weapons at austere sites, located close to the conflict zone.” The aircraft also has much greater endurance after shedding its weight.
General Atomics has reportedly developed the drone for Army Future Command and Special Operations Command’s Armed Overwatch program.