The US Air Force showcased a new drone system capable of launching another mini-drone.
It was the sixth flight of the XQ-58A Valkyrie drone, and it saw it launching another immensely capable small-sized drone, Altius-600, to carry out reconnaissance and attack missions. It was rather an unforeseen twist in the flight when Valkyrie launched the mini reconnaissance drone, as earlier it was just known for launching missiles and bombs.
The Pentagon is surely working towards maximizing drones’ utilities to the best of their interests, where a drone launching another drone is seen for the first time. Given its immense capabilities, the valkyrie drone was already famous with names such as flying arsenals and sentries. Now the new shown capability adds to the list of things it could do.
According to the Air Force research lab report, the sixth flight saw the Valkyrie fly at a higher altitude and a pace faster than its early flights. It released Altius-600 from its weapons bay, from where it launches the rest of its weapons, such as bombs and missiles.
The launching of one drone from another drew much of the military aviation attention. The baby drone is three feet in its length and has a wingspan of about eight feet.
It could go for four hours straight at speeds up to 276 miles per hour. Impressively, the small drone can also carry out an attack on its reconnaissance mission with having the ability to carry up to 7 pounds of explosives. Its developers claimed it would come in handy for intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance roles while also performing as a crewless aerial vehicle capable of carrying a highly explosive warhead.
Pentagon is working towards building a loyal wingman, and Valkyrie XQ-58A is an example of a supporting aircraft. The baby drone could also pack electronic warfare jamming pod and anti-radar missiles to defend aircraft against the enemy while also intensifying the attack.
The mini drone could be used for critical reconnaissance deep into the enemy lines. XQ-58A is replacing crewed fighter jets while providing a tool to take control of areas inside the enemy lines effectively.