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Tue, Nov 21, 2023

General Atomics Launches Mojave UAV From HMS Prince of Wales

Continued STOL Development Hones GA-ASI Portfolio for Naval Service

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems shook out its short takeoff and landing system for the Mojave UAS in conjunction with the Royal Navy's HMS Prince of Wales.

The demo took place on November 15, 2023, as the Prince of Wales was underway off the East Coast of the US, allowing GA-ASI a fairly low-risk test environment. The aircraft was controlled by aircrew aboard the ship, who put it through its paces in the same sorts of pattern work a student pilot would run through. Takeoffs, approaches, patterns, and go-arounds proved out the utility of GA-ASI’s STOL equipment kit for its smaller, lighter Mojave demonstrator- but larger aircraft in the brand family like the Grey Eagle can see similar performance.

“We applaud the Royal Navy’s foresight in embracing this unprecedented capability for its carriers,” said GA-ASI CEO Linden Blue. “We knew our STOL capability would enable a UAS to safely take off and land on the Prince of Wales. Seeing our Mojave operate successfully in this environment opens myriad new ways our aircraft can be used to support multi-domain naval operations.”

General Atomics has been planning out a STOL option for its most popular offerings, with a wing kit to be offered for the MQ-9B family including the SkyGuardian, SeaGuardian, and the Protector RG Mk 1. The MQ-9B STOL has found itself in the running for military contracts as a warship-capable UAS that requires little in the way of complex catapults and arresting gear.

Royal Navy Director Develop, Rear Admiral James Parkin, whose team planned the trial, saw the test as a taste of what’s to come for the service: “The Mojave trial is a European first – the first time that a Remotely Piloted Air System of this size has operated to and from an aircraft carrier outside of the United States. The success of this trial heralds a new dawn in how we conduct maritime aviation and is another exciting step in the evolution of the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group into a mixed crewed and uncrewed fighting force.”

FMI: www.ga-asi.com

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