Saturday, April 20, 2024

GA-ASI’s new XQ-67A drone completes maiden flight

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced the XQ-67A drone, which was built for the U.S. Air Force’s secretive Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) program, flew on Feb. 28.

As noted by the company, OBSS is an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) program and GA-ASI was selected in 2021 to design, build and fly the new aircraft.

The flight of the AFRL-backed XQ-67A marks a significant advancement in aircraft development, validating the concept of “genus/species” originally conceived in collaboration with AFRL under the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Platform Sharing (LCAAPS) program. This pioneering concept focuses on constructing multiple aircraft variants from a common core chassis.

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The LCAAPS initiative, a joint effort between AFRL and GA-ASI, aimed to create a versatile chassis, referred to as the “genus,” serving as the fundamental architectural foundation from which various “species” of aircraft could be derived.

Trenton White, OBSS Program Manager and aerospace engineer at AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate, emphasized the strategic significance of this approach: “This provides an alternative acquisition approach for military aircraft that enables faster development, lower costs and more opportunities for frequent technology refresh. XQ-67A is the first “species” to be designed and built from this shared platform. Flight demonstration of this system is a major first step toward showing the ability to produce affordable combat mass.”

Michael Atwood, Vice President of Advanced Programs at GA-ASI, highlighted the groundbreaking nature of the OBSS project: “OBSS is the first aircraft type built and flown using a common core chassis developed by GA-ASI that promotes commonality across multiple vehicle types.”

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Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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