Apr 12, 2023
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTOS), a Technology Company in the Defense, National Security and Global Markets and an industry-leading provider of high-performance, jet-powered unmanned aerial systems, joined by Oklahoma Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs John Nash, Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Representative Tom Cole (R-OK-4), and Representative Stephanie Bice (R-OK-5), today celebrated the 100th MQM-178 Firejet high-performance jet powered target drone aircraft produced at the Kratos Unmanned aircraft manufacturing facility in Oklahoma City.
With primary customers including the United States Air Force, Navy, and Army, as well as foreign ally militaries, the Kratos Unmanned Systems Division opened this manufacturing facility in November 2018 to accommodate the existing and increasing demand for its newest line of high performance, jet-powered unmanned aerial tactical drone and target drone systems.
Today, the Kratos Unmanned Oklahoma City aircraft manufacturing facility is fully operational with two major drone aircraft systems in rate production, plus prototype production of a third system. The Kratos Unmanned Oklahoma City aircraft manufacturing facility is home to the MQM-178 Firejet, which first rolled off the production line in Oklahoma in April 2019 and is produced in high quantities monthly/annually today, in both a target and tactical system configuration. The XQ-58A Valkyrie, a high-performance tactical UAV capable of long-range flights at high-subsonic speeds, currently under contract with multiple Department of Defense customers, is also produced at the Kratos Oklahoma manufacturing facility. Kratos is also in prototype production of an additional, high performance tactical drone system at the Oklahoma facility.
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Including production at the Oklahoma City facility, Kratos today manufactures approximately 150 high-performance, jet-powered tactical and target drone systems annually, with the established infrastructure, supply chain, partners, vendors, and sub-contractors in place, and able to rapidly, significantly increase annual production as required.
Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said, “Achieving the completion of the 100th Firejet produced here at our OKC facility marks an incredible milestone and includes several levels of significance. First, the successful growth of Kratos’ aircraft production capacity from a single site in California to effectively doubling our total capacity with the OKC site. It’s also an illustration of Kratos’ true partnership with Oklahoma’s leadership and congressional delegation, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Greater OKC Chamber, and the local community to make this possible. And finally, the capabilities, skills, dedication, and commitment of the Kratos employees to achieve a high-rate production line for a complete aircraft manufactured and produced right here in Oklahoma. All of these accomplishments achieved in just a few years which included a worldwide pandemic. Amazing and inspiring.”
At the high-performance end of the low-cost or affordable jet aerial target market, Kratos’ Firejet delivers unmatched fighter-like performance and versatility, representing the most lethal threats of the United States and its allies’ potential adversaries. Kratos’ Firejet provides the opportunity for customers to train their military personnel and to test multiple weapon systems with a single flexible and affordable high performance unmanned aerial target drone system. The Firejet supports both surface-to-air and air-to-air engagements with a combination of internal and external mission kits including tow targets, proximity scoring, passive & active RF augmentation, and infrared (IR) augmentation.
Additionally, the Tactical Firejet, a variant of the baseline Firejet developed in response to recent years’ world events and configured to enable and perform key tactical drone operations, rather than use for target missions, is built in Oklahoma. The Tactical Firejet maintains key Kratos platform features, including high subsonic speed, high-g maneuverability, optimized performance-per-cost class, and sensor/weapons capability.
With the multi-mission capabilities enabled by the Firejet’s multiple variants, Kratos is poised for continued annual increases in demand for these systems and will continue ramping the production at the Oklahoma aircraft manufacturing facility in response.
To support the production contracts and growing demand for these aircraft, Kratos currently employs 160 personnel at the Oklahoma City aircraft manufacturing facility and expects to grow to more than 500 employees in Oklahoma in the high-skilled engineering, design, and manufacturing fields.
“Kratos’ leadership to modernize our force and maintain U.S. excellence in aerospace technology is vital to the safety and security of our nation,” said Senator James Lankford (R-OK). “The Kratos technology makes our warfighters safer and more lethal. Oklahoma is proud to be part of its production to build their innovative unmanned aerial systems right here in our state, and I look forward to the work they will continue to do on behalf of our state and nation in the days ahead.”
“Oklahoma is leading the nation in aerospace innovation and technology,” said Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). “We’re fortunate to have industry-leading partners like Kratos here in Oklahoma City to create high-paying jobs, bolster our economy, and keep our men and women in uniform supplied with the latest and greatest war fighting capabilities. I’m excited to see Kratos’ growth so far, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.”
Representative Tom Cole (R-OK-4) said, “I am proud to join in commemoration of this remarkable milestone. Kratos and its highly skilled workforce community’s dedication to excellence, innovation and affordable solutions our warfighters need is to be commended. These impressive drone decoys as well as the high-performance unmanned Valkyrie UAV will both multiply our combat power and improve our defensive capabilities in the future fight.”
“The work that Kratos is doing right here in Oklahoma City is critical in supporting our national security. Oklahoma is rapidly becoming a hub for innovation in the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS) space, and Kratos plays an important role in this ecosystem. Kratos has grown significantly here in Oklahoma City, and I applaud their accomplishments and look forward to their continued positive impact on the community,” said Representative Stephanie Bice (R-OK-5).