The Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator has conducted its first flight in a planned five flight test campaign.

The test took place on 5 March and lasted 76 minutes, says a USAF statement from Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

The mission took place at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, and the vehicle performed as expected.

“This joint effort falls within the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio, which has the objective to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft,” says the statement.

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“The objectives of the LCAAT initiative include designing and building UAS faster by developing better design tools, and maturing and leveraging commercial manufacturing processes to reduce build time and cost.”

The XQ-58Q, developed jointly by Kratos and AFRL, travels at “high subsonic” speeds and took 2.5 years from contract award to develop. The five tests will fall into two phases, with tests to focus on functionality, aerodynamic performance, as well as launch and recovery.

“XQ-58A is the first example of a class of UAV that is defined by low procurement and operating costs while providing game changing combat capability,” says Doug Szczublewski, AFRL’s XQ-58A Program Manager.

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