Kratos XQ58-A Valkyrie Support Drone flew for 76 minutes in its first test
The US Air Force first tested the XQ58-A Valkyrie support drone in March this year when the standalone model flew for 76 minutes. The US team plans to conduct five tests with this drone that acts as the pilot’s partner. The second was June 11th.
Developed by Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, the XQ58-A Valkyrie may be the future of the air force. The idea is that he – or a group of them – can accompany manned fighters and offer support in situations of air combat, bombing, cyber warfare or space control.
The drone would function as a partner and even a shield and could stand in front of the manned fighter at the time of an attack. The XQ58-A Valkyrie – Valkyrie, in English – was named after a character from Norse mythology, who gathered to the gods the soul of brave warriors killed on the battlefield.
Meanwhile, the Air Force is developing another slightly different project, called “Skyborg,” which works with hardware and software to integrate manned and unmanned aircraft. The agency is under discussion with Boeing and Lockheed, respectively, to modify their F-15EX and F-35A Block 4 fighters to accommodate Skyborg project data connections and processors, Defense News reported.
Will Roper, Under Secretary of Purchasing, Technology and Logistics, said the intention is eventually to integrate the XQ58-A Valkyrie into the Skyborg program. According to Defense News, the Air Force plans to test the aircraft in 2019 and 2020 “with the hope that they will be ready by 2023”.
The XQ-58’s flight test signals an expansion of international efforts to develop UAVs that can fly and fight in mixed formations with manned warplanes.