General Atomics unveils new Mojave UAS that packs 16 Hellfire missiles

General Atomics unveils new Mojave UAS that packs 16 Hellfire missiles.
General Atomics unveils new Mojave UAS that packs 16 Hellfire missiles. Credit: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has unveiled its next revolutionary Unmanned Aircraft System called Mojave, which gets its name from one of the harshest and most austere areas the world, where deadly rattlesnakes and horned lizards adapt to survive the extreme forces of nature.

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

The Mojave offers options for forward-basing operations without the need for typical runways or airport infrastructure. It can land and take off from unimproved surfaces while also retaining significant advantages in endurance and persistence advantages over manned aircraft. These innovations make Mojave the perfect UAS for armed surveillance, attack, and reconnaissance missions.

The Mojave can carry an unprecedented new bombload of up to 16 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other ordnance – including forward-firing weapons such as the Dillon Aero M134D-H minigun, as well as sensors or other payloads as needed. The aircraft can haul as much as 3,600 pounds if needed – more than twice that of Gray Eagle. It has JTAC Remote Targeting and the possibility of automatic take-off and landing via satellite.

Other improvements can be found under the skin of the aircraft, including the highly reliable and well-proven Rolls-Royce M250 engine rated at 450 HP; a high resolution electro-optical infrared sensor in the nose; the Eagle Eye Long-Range radar and beyond, including signals intelligence and communications relay hardware. With the ability to fly for more than 24 hours of flight time in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance setup when the aircraft is clean, with no external stores loaded, the Mojave easily outperforms any human-crewed fixed-wing turboprop light aircraft. It also can self-deploy from the U.S. or friendly base, arrive at its patrol station, and immediately get to work.

A prototype aircraft first flew in mid-year and continues 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 forces 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.”