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General Atomics tests podded guns on Mojave UAV

A GA-ASI Mojave UAV performs a gun-run with a Dillon DAP-6 podded minigun. (GA-ASI)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) has tested a podded gun on its Mojave short take-off and landing (STOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the company said in a 23 April release.

GA-ASI mounted two Dillon DAP-6 podded miniguns to the Mojave and tested the combination at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona on 13 April. The Mojave performed seven gun-runs during two flights, expending around 10,000 rounds of ammunition against “a variety of targets”, according to GA-ASI. A video accompanying the release showed the UAV destroying a pickup truck.

“For this live-fire demonstration, our goal was to validate the [Mojave's] battlefield relevance,” GA-ASI told Janes on 23 April. “As such, the effort was done completely using GA-ASI's [internal research and development funding], but we believe that successfully demonstrating this capability is of considerable interest to potential customers.”

Integrating the gun pods took “about 70 business days” to complete, added the company.

The Mojave, based on the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Grey Eagle UAVs, is optimised for STOL operations. The turboprop-powered UAV can lift up to 1,542 kg (3,400 lb) and take off in as little as 122 m (400 ft), according to Janes All the World's Aircraft: Unmanned . The aircraft has a range of 2,500 n miles (4,630 km; 2,877 miles) with up to an endurance of 25 hours.

The UAV was unveiled in 2021, the same year it conducted its first flight. Although the Mojave has yet to land any orders, the UK Royal Navy trialled it aboard aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales in 2023.

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