General Atomics Test Flies ‘Mojave’ UAS Prototype

  • Our Bureau
  • 03:34 AM, December 10, 2021
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General Atomics Test Flies ‘Mojave’ UAS Prototype
Mojave UAS @GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) said that a prototype of its new Unmanned Aircraft System called ‘Mojave,’ unveiled Thursday, took to the skies for the first time this summer.

Mojave is based on the avionics and flight control systems of MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle-ER but is focused on short-takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities and increased firepower. It features enlarged wings with high-lift devices, and a 450-HP turboprop engine.

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. These innovations make Mojave the perfect UAS to perform armed overwatch, attack and armed reconnaissance missions, the company claims.

A prototype aircraft first flew this summer and is continuing to demonstrate exceptional short-field performance and other unique qualities.

“We’re proud to bring these extraordinary capabilities to our Predator line of UAS,” said GA-ASI CEO Linden Blue. “We are providing the ground force with a long-endurance, armed overwatch UAS that can quickly reload weapons at austere sites, located close to the conflict zone. This revolutionary design, based on 7 million flight hours of UAS experience, increases expeditionary employment options – making Mojave a real game changer.”

Predator-series UAS have evolved since their support of the U.S. war effort following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 to become not only a critical provider of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), but also provide kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities to neutralize threats and achieve overmatch.

The Mojave project brings together all the best of the proven technologies for employment, sustainment and production and capability to achieve industry-leading reliability, range and endurance. STOL capability increases the number of employment options available to Mojave, potentially including aircraft carrier-based options, unlocking naval missions or sea-based support for special operations forces.

Payload capacity is 3,600 lb. (1,633 kg) and Mojave can carry up to 16 Hellfire or equivalent missiles. Mojave can be equipped with a sensor suite including Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) and Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) to support land or maritime missions.

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