General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has demonstrated the short takeoff and landing capability of its Mojave unmanned aircraft system for the first time on a British Royal Navy aircraft carrier.
According to a GA-ASI announcement on Friday, an aircrew within a control station of HMS Prince of Wales conducted the STOL test while the carrier was sailing off the U.S. East Coast on Nov. 15. An earlier Breaking Defense report noted that the warship is on a four-month deployment on U.S. waters to advance operations with drones as well as fighter jets and helicopters.
Mojave, which was originally developed to demonstrate STOL operations at unprepared landing sites, features systems and components common with GA-ASI’s Gray Eagle drone. The company is also planning STOL capability for its larger MQ-9B, composed of the SkyGuardian, SeaGuardian and the new Protector RG Mk 1 currently being acquired by the British Royal Air Force.
HMS Prince of Wales previously conducted another test of a STOL drone developed by W Autonomous Systems, according to a Royal Navy announcement reported by The Avionist. The drone, which was tested on Sept. 8, has a 100-kilogram capacity and a 1,000-kilometer maximum range. In September 2021, the QinetiQ Banshee target drones were also tested aboard the battleship, the news website reported.