Successful AttritableONE (Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie) Return to Flight Test Enables Formation Flight with F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning Fifth-Generation Fighters

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider and industry-leading provider of high-performance, jet-powered unmanned aerial systems, announced today that the Kratos Valkyrie UAS AttritableONE flight test enabling the F-22 and F-35 5th generation fighters to fly in formation together was successfully completed last week at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The test was led by an integrated Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) acquisition team comprised of Air Force Research Laboratory and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center personnel working in conjunction with Eglin Air Force Base’s 46th Test Squadron.

During the test event, the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning fighters, formed up off the wings of the smaller Valkyrie as it continued to fly autonomously. This is a major milestone in the service’s efforts to provide low cost force multipliers in relevant operational environments.

“The experiments [last week] represent what can be accomplished with the collaboration of industry, the Test Center, the acquisition community and AFRL,” said Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, AFRL commander. “This was just a first step at demonstrating the potential of the force multiplier effects of attritable aircraft in a manned/unmanned environment.”

“As the ABMS AttritableONE Product Lead and XQ-58 Valkyrie AFRL Program Manager, I’m proud of the partnership with AFLCMC, the Air Force Test Center, and our Air Force Acquisition and industry partners and the team’s ability to go from concept to demonstration in six months,” said, AFRL XQ-58A Program Manager, Michael Wipperman. “This was the fifth successful launch and flight of the Valkyrie, but the first time the platform has flown in formation with an F-22 and F-35.”

Wipperman added, “The XQ-58A modularity and ability to carry robust payloads enabled the rapid capability integration into an attritable experimentation vehicle. We’re thrilled with the seamless integration and demonstration of this flight. We look forward to continued capability enhancement at future demonstrations.”

Developed by Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and AFRL as part of the latter’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology portfolio, the XQ-58A is designed to be a runway-independent, re-usable unmanned air vehicle capable of a broad range of operational missions. The XQ-58A was developed through low cost procurement and is designed to be significantly less expensive to operate than traditional piloted or unpiloted vehicles, while capable of achieving the same critical missions. Taking only two and a half years from contract award to first flight, it is the first example of a class of unmanned air vehicles developed through this time-saving process, which seeks to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft.

Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said, “Kratos is extremely proud of the roles our XQ-58A Valkyrie and personnel are playing in enabling and demonstrating this key ABMS capability while aimed at maximizing the effectiveness of the exquisite 5th generation fighter systems. We are committed to development and realization of affordable defense technologies making today particularly exciting for us with this substantial achievement.”

Source: Kratos Defense & Security Solutions
Date: Dec 16, 2020