General Atomics is testing a prototype drone with advanced firepower, Breaking Defense said in a report. So far, the company has not officially commented on the information.
According to media reports, General Atomics has built and launched a prototype of a new drone. Its firepower is greater than that of current US UAVs. In addition, it is capable of launching 16 Hellfire missiles. It is an American air-to-surface missile with semi-active laser or active radar guidance.
Most of the drones in use today use such missiles, but not 16 at a time. This is four times the firepower that the MQ-9 Reaper can carry. This drone was also produced by General Atomics. Its range is 1850 km, it is used by different countries around the world.
According to the report, the design of the new drone is borrowed from the MQ-1C Gray Eagle. It can carry up to eight Stinger air-to-air missiles. It is worth considering that its carrying capacity is only 360 kg, while 16 Hellfire missiles are 720 kg (each missile is 45 kg). Therefore, doubling the power is likely to affect the drone’s endurance, as well as reduce its ability to carry payload for other missions, or disrupt cooling systems for sensor operation.