Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has announced that, in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), it has successfully completed the third test flight of the XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aerial system (UAS). The Valkyrie unmanned aircraft is designed to be a stealth platform that supports manned fighter aircraft by providing surveillance, fire support and other functions.
The 90-minute test flight saw the Valkyrie UAS execute a perfect launch and meet 56 of 56 baseline test points, and gain two additional test points with excess fuel remaining at the end of the mission. The UAS recovery parachute system worked as expected, with the aircraft descending to the ground under the canopy system at the end of the mission.
The prototype cushion system, which was employed for the series of test flights but is not intended for use on the final production model, suffered an anomaly resulting in the UAS sustaining damage upon touchdown. Upon recovery and initial damage evaluation, the Valkyrie has been determined to be fully repairable. Kratos will address the issues with cushion system prior to the fourth test flight and complete the flight series with the AFRL while continuing to work with its other Valkyrie customers.
Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, commented: “I am extremely proud of the team and the level of success we have achieved with the entire Valkyrie system. We have now successfully completed three virtually flawless flights and about 270 minutes of flight time performed.”
“Based on the flights performed to date and the resulting data generated, we do not need to revise any of the airborne control systems, which is amazing for any newly developed system, but especially so for UAS. We believe that our customer set is extremely pleased with the XQ-58A’s system performance to date. The reliability of the cushion system is an area we must improve, and we’ll be working with our subcontractor to perfect the system before Flight 4. However, this is specifically why flight test series are performed: to address any issues ahead of full operational capability being achieved and ensure our Armed Forces are using the most reliable technologies available.”
Eric DeMarco, President & CEO of Kratos, said: “All of Kratos is extremely proud of our partnership with the Air Force Research Lab and the incredible progress that the team is making with the XQ-58A Valkyrie. In addition to the XQ-58A which successfully completed this most recent mission, Kratos has two additional Company owned Valkyries which missionization and flight regimes we are coordinating with our customers. From day one our intent has been to have multiple aircraft ready to be able to support multiple customers / program needs and ensure aircraft availability is not an issue.”