LETHAL: Mojave drone can blast targets at 6,000 rounds per minute
04/30/2024 // Richard Brown // Views

In a groundbreaking live-fire demonstration earlier this month, General Atomics' Mojave drone, equipped with a pair of Dillon Aero DAP-6 Minigun pods, obliterated several static targets.

This remarkable feat marks a significant milestone in the drone's capabilities, with plans already underway to expand upon this newfound potential. The timing is opportune as General Atomics eyes a hybrid iteration of the Mojave and its MQ-1C Gray Eagle for the U.S. Army, filling the void left by the termination of its recent armed scout helicopter program.

During the demonstration conducted on April 13 at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, the DAP-6-armed Mojave engaged multiple ground targets in seven strafing runs across two sorties.

The awe-inspiring display, captured in accompanying video footage, showcased the drone's firepower, including the spectacular destruction of a Chevy pickup truck. While the 7.62x51mm rounds fired by the Minigun are non-explosive, the possibility of the truck being rigged with explosives or containing ignitable fuel cannot be discounted.

A staggering 10,000 rounds of 7.62x51mm ammunition were discharged during the demonstration, averaging approximately 1,428 rounds per pass. (Related: Israeli drone strike assassinates Hamas deputy leader in Beirut.)

Each Minigun pod boasts a rapid rate of fire of 3,000 rounds per minute, totaling 6,000 rounds per minute for both pods. With a maximum magazine capacity of 3,000 rounds, the DAP-6 offers a full minute of continuous firing before reloading.

However, adjustments can be made to reduce ammunition load for weight considerations.

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Mark Brinkley, GA-ASI's Senior Director of Marketing & Strategic Communications, emphasized the engineering ingenuity involved in equipping the Mojave for this historic demonstration.

He outlined the hardware and software upgrades required, along with extensive ground-based test firings to achieve accurate targeting. Looking ahead, GA-ASI envisions further enhancements, including rotating guns synchronized with the aircraft's sensor ball for expanded targeting capabilities.

Despite the challenges of integrating gun-based weapon systems onto drones, GA-ASI views the live-fire demonstration as a resounding success, with no incidents reported during the test. The company anticipates improved accuracy and effectiveness as development progresses.

Mojave drone can take off and land on unpaved surfaces

Gun pods like the DAP-6 represent just one aspect of Mojave's versatile armament options.

With three hard points under each wing, the drone has showcased its capacity to carry a variety of weapons, including AGM-114 Hellfires and AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGM).

Since its public unveiling in 2021, GA-ASI has highlighted Mojave's ability to carry up to 16 Hellfires simultaneously, further underscoring its potent combat capabilities.

Last August, the Mojave drone successfully took off and landed on a dirt strip in El Mirage, California, expanding the drone's operational capabilities.

The tests demonstrated Mojave's ability to take off and land on unpaved surfaces, distinguishing it from conventional fixed-wing aircraft that rely on established runways. This capability allows the drone to operate from various remote, semi-improved areas while being piloted from a standard ground control station or control laptop system.

GA-ASI, which began its UAS journey 25 years ago with the MQ-1 Predator drone, has since introduced advanced versions like the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle. Its fleet of drones boasts over 7 million operational hours, many of which were in combat.

The recent flying tests marked Mojave's inaugural Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) on a dirt surface. Short takeoffs were achieved in as little as 586 feet, with harsh landings completed in as low as 335 feet. These tests primarily aimed to gather terrain inputs utilizing Mojave, rather than achieving the shortest feasible lengths.

According to GA-ASI, this enhanced capability increases the aircraft's adaptability, allowing it to operate in previously deemed unsuitable locations for UAS missions. David R. Alexander, president of GA-ASI, emphasized Mojave's advantages in endurance and persistence over Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) and human-crewed aircraft.

Watch footage of an American drone downed over Saada.

This video is from the channel The Prisoner on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Emergency alerts issued on NATO territory following Russian drone attacks

U.S. destroyer intercepts drone, missile attacks launched by Houthi rebels toward Israel

Russian schoolchildren are learning drone technology while U.S. students focus on “gender ideology”

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