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December 17, 2020

Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie UAS undergoes flight test in formation with jets

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has announced that its XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned air vehicle (UAS) has completed a flight test in formation with US Air Force (USAF) fighter jets.

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has announced that its XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned air vehicle (UAS) has completed a flight test in formation with US Air Force (USAF) fighter jets.

The test was conducted at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, US, by an integrated Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) acquisition team featuring Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center personnel.

During the test, the US Air Force’s two fifth-generation fighters F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning formed up off the wings of the smaller Valkyrie, which flew autonomously in formation.

According to AFRL XQ-58A programme manager Michael Wipperman, the Valkyrie met 80% of the overall flight test objectives with 100% of the formation flying objectives.

Wipperman added: “This was the fifth successful launch and flight of the Valkyrie, but the first time the platform has flown in formation with an F-22 and F-35.

“The XQ-58A modularity and ability to carry robust payloads enabled the rapid capability integration into an attritable experimentation vehicle.

“We’re thrilled with the seamless integration and demonstration of this flight. We look forward to continued capability enhancement at future demonstrations.”

The XQ-58A Valkyrie is developed by Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and AFRL as part of the latter’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology portfolio.

The UAS is designed as a runway-independent, re-usable unmanned air vehicle to carry out a range of operational missions.

According to Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, the XQ-58A is developed through low-cost procurement and is expected to cost less compared to other conventional piloted or unpiloted vehicles.

The UAS completed its fourth flight test in January.

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