The Air Force’s New Unmanned Wingmate Completes Inaugural Flight
Designed as a $2 million support aircraft for the Air Force’s fifth-generation fighters, the stealthy Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie is designed to reach near-supersonic speeds and operate from undeveloped air strips.
The XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or “drone” demonstrator – a collaborative project between the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems – completed its first flight at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
The long-range, “high subsonic” aircraft is part of AFRL’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio, which was established to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft and provide an unmanned escort or wingmate aircraft for Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II and Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.