Thursday, July 16, 2020

U.S. Air Force progresses stealthy unmanned combat aircraft project

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Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. has reported it has made progress in its Valkyrie program to create new stealthy unmanned combat aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.

According to a statement issued Monday, XQ-58A Valkyrie successfully completed its fourth test/demonstration flight on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona.

The XQ-58A is the pathfinder for the attritable class of aircraft that provides the warfighter the capability to project air power with mass, complexity, and unpredictability.

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Thursday’s envelope-expanding flight lasted over an hour, during which the XQ-58A demonstrator successfully completed all 43 baseline test objectives, plus 6 additional tests, for a total of 49. The system deployed its parachutes and landed normally, validating the design changes incorporated for the test flight airbag system following flight three. To date, the Valkyrie has flown more than five hours and exceeded the progress originally planned for the flight series.

Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said, “I am thrilled for our joint Kratos and AFRL team. With another successful flight and substantial envelope expansion specifically targeted at validating a near-term mission requirement, we continue to illustrate the potential of the XQ-58A and validate our objective for rapid development of a low cost, attritable, strike UAS. We look forward to continuing to support AFRL and our other customers in application of the Valkyrie to both existing and evolving DoD opportunities.”

The XQ-58A Valkyrie system, developed by Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on the Low-Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator (LCASD) Program, is a low-cost, multi-mission, runway-independent unmanned air vehicle (UAV) capable of long-range flights and high-subsonic speeds intended to support a variety of defense mission applications. In addition to the Valkyrie’s extreme survivability and adaptability, as part of the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio, it is designed to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft.

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