Droneception: XQ-58A Valkyrie launches drone from weapons bay

US Air Force Research Laboratory

Under the supervision of the US Air Force Research Laboratory, the Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie experimental combat drone successfully released its first payload from its internal weapons bay at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

The sixth flight test for Kratos’ loyal wingman took place on March 26, 2021, and was declared a success on April 05, 2021. It demonstrated the ability of the Valkyrie to launch an ALTIUS-600 small, unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) from its internal weapons bay. Aeria-I designed the ALTIUS with a modular nose that can fit a variety of payloads depending on the mission needs. It was the first time that the Valkyrie opened its weapons bay mid-flight.

Following the successful release of the drone, the XQ-58A completed several additional tests to gauge its flight behavior. “In addition to this first SUAS separation demonstration, the XQ-58A flew higher and faster than previous flights,” said Alyson Turri, the demonstration program manager.

Developed for the United States Air Force by the company Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, the XQ-58A Valkyrie is a stealth combat drone intended for use as an expendable wingman for piloted fighter aircraft. In December 2020, the XQ-58A Valkyrie flew in formation with a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II, an Air Force F-22 Raptor, and F-35A to demonstrate its ability to communicate with other platforms.


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