Showcasing the XQ-58A Valkyrie’s ability to fly alongside two F-35 aircraft and deliver an integrated electronic attack capability during a live flight test event, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. marked the completion of the initial phase of the US Marine Corps’ Penetrating Affordable Autonomous Collaborative Killer – Portfolio (PAACK-P) program on 2 April 2024, with a successful demonstration by its Unmanned Systems Division at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The Valkyrie, in operation since 2019, demonstrated its advanced electronic attack capabilities by autonomously detecting, identifying, and geolocating multiple targets of interest. The aircraft successfully transmitted target track coordinates to collaborative assets and executed non-kinetic electronic attack effects against multiple emitters. The XQ-58A Valkyrie offers high performance, runway-independent tactical UAV capabilities, including long-range flights at high-subsonic speeds, operational flexibility, and affordability for various Department of Defense applications.

Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, expressed excitement about the recent Valkyrie showing: “We’re very excited about the mission capability demonstrated during the flight and the incredible effectiveness per cost that this enables; not to mention the elimination of risk to a human pilot, and elimination of risk to expensive manned platforms.” Fendley highlighted the collaborative effort involving Kratos, Northrop Grumman, and the Marine Corps, underscoring the significance of these technologies in achieving the Department of Defense’s (DoD) objectives.

The successful demonstration follows a $22.9M contract modification awarded in December 2023 for additional engineering development and flight test demonstrations. The PAACK-P program aims to inform requirements for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Expeditionary (MUX) Tactical Aircraft (TACAIR) for use in a Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) role.

Lt. Col. Bradley Buick, Cunningham Group Capabilities, Research, and Integration Officer, emphasised the importance of MUX TACAIR platforms in enhancing the lethality and survivability of current crewed platforms, indicating their significance in new air domain strategies: “These platforms are the future of air warfare.”

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