XQ-58A UAS To Fly In Fall
- July 13, 2018
The U.S. Air Force’s low-cost unmanned strike aircraft demonstrator, the Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie will enter flight testing in fall.
“The basic idea is can we make a capable combat aircraft very low cost by using modern manufacturing techniques and drive the cost as low as possible,”Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) chief Major General William Cooley says.
AFRL officials launched the XQ-58A under the low cost attritable strike demonstrator (LCASD) programme. The use of the relatively unfamiliar “attritable” term was intentional, Cooley says. The AFRL’s programme managers wanted to make it clear the drone is not disposable. If such a system were fielded, the goal would be to reuse the aircraft as much as possible, but losing the losing aircraft to accidents or hostile fire would be financially tolerable.
That approach stands in contrast not only to highly capable manned airdraft, such as the Lockheed Martin F-22 and F-35, but also to previous concepts for a highly capable — and expensive — unmanned combat air vehicle.
The XQ-58A Valkyrie is an ‘attritable’ unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), developing by the Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., measuring in at roughly 9.14 m in length. The newly UAV will have an impressive range of more than 4,800 kilometers. It also can carry a payload of 272 kg, including small-diameter bombs and missiles.