USAF’s XQ-58A Valkyrie UAV completes fourth flight test

27 January 2020 (Last Updated January 27th, 2020 12:34)

The US Air Force’s (USAF) XQ-58A Valkyrie low-cost unmanned air vehicle (UAV) demonstrator has completed its fourth flight at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

USAF’s XQ-58A Valkyrie UAV completes fourth flight test
The XQ-58A Valkyrie pictured during its second test flight at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, US. Credit: USAF / 2nd Lt Randolph Abaya.

The US Air Force’s (USAF) XQ-58A Valkyrie low-cost unmanned air vehicle (UAV) demonstrator has completed its fourth flight at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has partnered with Kratos Defense & Security Solutions to develop the demonstrator.

It is part of the research laboratory’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology portfolio.

The flight demonstration was successful and the UAV met all the objectives related to its system functionality, launch and recovery systems and aerodynamic performance.

The trial was marked successful after the safe landing of the aircraft in the deserts of Arizona.

This event represents the comeback of XQ-58A, which suffered damage during its third test flight in October 2019.

AFRL XQ-58A programme manager Michael Wipperman said: “Flying at this altitude helped us gather important data such as vehicle response to temperature and vibration, which will prepare us as we move toward our next flight test.

“We were able to show recovery for a successful flight at even higher altitudes. Given that we have overcome these challenges, we have confidence that the aircraft can continue its progression into flying in more representative conditions.”

In March 2019, the maiden test flight was conducted. The second test was conducted in June that year.

XQ-58A Valkyrie is an economical, runway-independent, reusable UAV. The carrier has been developed within a short span of 2 and a half years. It is aimed to be cost-effective and efficient in its missions.

The XQ-58A Valkyrie is planned to undergo five flight tests with the last trial expected to complete by end of this year.

The fifth flight will evaluate the vehicle’s capability to assist operational requirements.