On March 26, the XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aircraft, which the US company Kratos Unmanned Systems is developing for the US Air Force, carried out the first launch of small unmanned aircraft from its hold.
In 2019 we reported on the second flight of the program, the most recent being the sixth of the program and the first where the cargo hold doors were opened in flight. The fifth, held in December, marked the first time the Valkyrie had flown in formation on the fifth generation aircraft in service with the USAF, the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lighting II.
During the March 26 flight, held at the Yuma Test Range in Arizona, the Valkyrie demonstrated its ability to launch another unmanned aircraft, specifically a small ALTIUS-600 (Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or SUAS), the same UAV in the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) gremlins program that we analyzed last September.
The test, in which both Kratos and Area-I participated, marked the first time the unmanned aircraft opened the doors of its hold in flight and reached speeds and altitudes higher than previous test flights. This test is the continuation of the test that was conducted on December 9 at the same facilities where the Valkyrie flew in closed formation with the aforementioned F-22 and F-35 as part of the evaluation program during a planned autonomous flight for the Ability the Valkyrie to act as a support aircraft for fighter jets, a true Manned-Unmanned Team Force multiplier. During this test, the unmanned aircraft met 80 percent of the flight plan goals and 100 percent of those related to the flight in formation.
This month, Kratos received a $ 37.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force’s Life Air Cycle Management Center (AFLMCMC), specifically the Executive Office of the Advanced Aircraft Program, to integrate, test, and deliver the XQ- 58A Valkyrie Systems.
What is it made of
The Valkyrie is a UAV that was developed by Kratos in collaboration with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). This is the LCASD (Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator) program, the aim of which is to develop an inexpensive unmanned combat aircraft whose mission is used in conjunction with the F-22 and F-35 combat aircraft for air-to-ground attack tasks or air strikes. go on air.
It is configured as a short-range, long-range, high-speed sub-solid-sound platform, as well as an internal cargo hold for weapons or surveillance equipment. As a loyal wingman, act according to the plans of the US Air Force, which we analyzed back in 2017.
It is nearly 30 feet long, has a wingspan of 6.7, a top speed of Mach 0.85, and a service cap of nearly 45,000 feet. It has two internal bearings for two 250 kg JDAM or Small Diameter Bomb pumps.
Boeing, also American, is working on a similar concept called the Airpower Teaming System, which it presented with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which flew for the first time last March. (Jos M Navarro Garca)
Photo: The Valkyrie in action with the Altius-600 (Kratos)
The XQ-58A Valkyrie alongside the F-35 and F-22 (USAF)
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