Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has announced that it is to continue its efforts to mature and improve XQ-58A Valkyrie tactical uncrewed air vehicle (UAV).

The continuous experimentation initiatives will allow the company to evolve and deploy the platform in support of various operational missions for the US Department of Defense (DoD).

Kratos said that the successful flight efforts and capability evolution have been made possible through the multiple contracts that it has received so far. The efforts will also fulfil the new forming application sets for the DoD.

Kratos Unmanned Systems Division president Steve Fendley said: “Late 2022 and early 2023 were and are expected to continue to be exciting times for high-performance jet drone systems.

“World events, budget realities, and technology are intersecting to illustrate the incredible capability that these systems enable through unique and, in some cases, unconventional approaches that result in low-risk, budget-achievable solutions for 21st-century defence needs. Kratos is incredibly excited to be a major part of this groundbreaking evolution.”

The XQ-58A UAV is being developed as part of the Skyborg programme, being managed by the US Air Force (USAF) and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

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Under this programme, the USAF and Kratos completed a series of flights with two production XQ-58A aircraft in July 2022.

Last November, Kratos and AFRL performed another flight test for a production XQ-58A to support the Block 2 maturation programme.

It validated the aircraft’s extended capabilities to perform missions at higher altitudes and longer distances with heavier weights.

According to Kratos, some other recent capability tests include a demonstration of a runway-flexible flight launch of the XQ-58A and one that saw its joint operation with an F-16 fighter jet.