General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) recently unveiled a new Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) dedicated to the particular needs of special operations troops and other high-demand users. Named Mojave, the new UAS 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.
Mojave features enlarged wings with high-lift devices and has a 450-HP Rolls-Royce M250 turboshaft engine. It 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. It provides options for forward-basing operations without the need for typical airport runways or infrastructure as it can land and takeoff from unimproved surfaces, or even from an aircraft carrier.
Mojave is capable of carrying up to 16 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other ordnance, as well as sensors or other payloads as needed. Operators can use direct-line-of-sight or beyond-line-of-sight satellite control and are able to take command using a highly advanced and yet user-friendly control interface. It can haul as much as 3,600 pounds (~ 1633 kilos) if required.
“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.”