General Atomics launches STOL capable MQ-9B
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has announced it plans on developing a short take off and landing (STOL) capable version of the MQ-9B MALE UAV.
The manufacturer suggested in a 10 May statement that the reason behind the decision was to 'meet an evolving operational environment in contested expeditionary environments.'
Referencing the advantages of STOL integration, GA-ASI noted that operators would be able to undertake missions in austere environments, while the new capability will be made possible by virtue of an optional wing and tail kit that can be installed in under a day.
'Operators can perform the modification in a hangar or on a flight line, delivering a capability that otherwise would require the purchase of a whole new aircraft,' said GA-ASI.
'MQ-9B STOL, which is part of GA-ASI’s Mojave series of unmanned aircraft, also presents an opportunity for future operations aboard an aircraft carrier or big-deck amphibious assault ship.
'The wings fold so that MQ-9B STOL could be parked on the deck or in the hangar bay, just like other naval aircraft. When it’s time to launch, operators will start the aircraft, unfold the wings, and take off over the bow without the need for catapults.'
The manufacturer also said 'it believes' the US Navy and USMC will take note of the new capability because it
'opens the door to persistent and long-range Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations.'
Orders for the MQ-9B include the UK, Belgium and Japan, with the manufacturer having previously agreed on a sale with Australia, until a surprise cancellation was confirmed on 1 April.
More from Uncrewed Vehicles
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announces that its autonomous BlueWhale uncrewed submarine will participate in the NATO Dynamic Messenger exercise, in an effort to demonstrate its capabilities in the maritime sector.
Twenty-five navies, eight NATO entities and more than thirty companies and universities are currently involved in Robotic Experimentation Prototyping Augmented by Maritime Unmanned Systems Exercise 2023 (REPMUS 23), held off the coast of Portugal until 29 September.
Israeli UAS developer SpearUAV introduced a submarine-launched capsule option for its Viper 750 UAV at DSEI 2023.
The Ukrainian pavilion at DSEI 2023, organised by state-owned Spetstechnoexport, exhibited several indigenous combat-tested systems, including UAVs, USVs and an evacuation vehicle.
Milrem Robotics has now supplied more than 100 of its Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) hybrid UGVs including approximately 15 for service in Ukraine. Lessons learned are continuing to inform the platform’s development, according to the company.
The design selected for the Rotary Wing Uncrewed Autonomous System is best suited for maritime operations.