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AFRL successfully completes XQ-58A Valkyrie flight and payload release test


The US Air Force Research Laboratory successfully completed the XQ-58A Valkyrie’s sixth flight test and first release from its internal weapons bay, March 26, 2021 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

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AFRL successfully completes XQ 58A Valkyrie flight and payload release test Valkyrie weapons bay operation in flight (Picture source: Kratos Defense & Security Solutions)


The XQ-58A Valkyrie system, developed by Kratos Unmanned Systems Division in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on the Low-Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator (LCASD) Program, is a low-cost, multi-mission, runway-independent unmanned air vehicle (UAV) capable of long-range flights and high-subsonic speeds intended to support a variety of defense mission applications. In addition to the Valkyrie’s extreme survivability and adaptability, as part of the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio, it is designed to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft.

This test, conducted in partnership with Kratos UAS and Area-I, demonstrated the ability to launch an ALTIUS-600 small, unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) from the internal weapons bay of the XQ-58A. Kratos, Area-I and AFRL designed and fabricated the SUAS carriage and developed software to enable release. After successful release of the SUAS, the XQ-58A completed additional test points to expand its demonstrated operating envelope.

“This is the sixth flight of the Valkyrie and the first time the payload bay doors have been opened in flight,” said Alyson Turri, demonstration program manager. “In addition to this first SUAS separation demonstration, the XQ-58A flew higher and faster than previous flights.”

In December 2020, Kratos received a $37.7 million contract from the AFLCMC/WA Advanced Aircraft Program Executive Office for Skyborg Delivery Order (DO) 2 to integrate, test, and deliver the XQ-58A Valkyrie system.