The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Kratos Defense and Security Solutions have gotten together to test Block 2 of its XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aircraft at the Yuma Proving Ground last week, a press release said.
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are now extensively being used in high-risk areas without endangering the lives of personnels in the military. However, the development of counter-UAS measures have led to the need for expendable drones.
The XQ-58A Valkyrie UAS is developed by Kratos which stands between the boundaries of both kinds of drones. It can be reused if recovered from a mission and will not be a huge monetary loss if it does not get retrieved.
The XQ-58A is a subsonic drone with a long range. The original version had a payload capacity of nearly 1,200 pounds (544 kg) and a 30-feet (9.1 m) long drone can cruise at 548 miles (882 km) an hour. It will have a range of 3,500 miles (5,600 km) and a service ceiling of 45,000 feet (14,000 m).
The aircraft is also designed to escort U.S. Air Force’s advanced fighters deploy weapons or surveillance measures and can also be deployed in a swarm.
The press release states that the test of the Block 2 aircraft confirmed that the Valkyrie could fly longer, heavier, and with larger mission weights.
In an exercise simulating a loss of communications scenario, the aircraft navigated itself to a landing zone and landed within the target zone, showing commendable autonomous capabilities.
“Wargames and analyses consistently report that mass is the solution to enable winning in today’s conflict arena and that a lower count of exquisite systems consistently fails,” said Steve Fendly, the President of Kratos Unammend Systems Divison.
“Kratos is laser-focused on the disruptive, affordable solution set.”