The United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) new XQ-58A Valkyrie autonomous drone has completed its test flights.. That’s how unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturer Kratos Defense & Security Solutions was able to provide additional details on flights conducted throughout October on November 2.
As reported earlier last month, The first operational flight of the squadron’s XQ-58A took place on 3 October, taking off from Eglin Air Force Base on Florida’s Gulf Coast, with a companion plane, as is usually the case in these tests; An F-16 as seen in published images and videos.
According to the report, this first flight was intended to collect new data and validate the unmanned aerial vehicle systems. Emphasize thatThe flight performed as expected” without providing further details.
Although the system has already been tested by the US Air Force, it was recently incorporated by the Navy in its search for new, more efficient UAVs on financial and economic grounds. Thus, in March, the squadron inducted its first two XQ-58A Valkyries.
Kratos highlights that a total of six planned test flights have been carried out to meet various milestones. In more detail, the XQ-58A Valkyrie’s capabilities: “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions; Performance of autonomous electronic support for unmanned platforms; Ability of AI-enabled platforms to augment fighter jet patrols; and continue to develop other unmanned teamwork (MUM-T) competency objectives.”.
Based on the positive results obtained by the Marine Corps and organizations associated with the program: “The flight marks a major milestone in the Marine Corps’ Penetrable Affordable Autonomous Assault-Portfolio (PAACK-P) program.”. Addressing the Pentagon’s budgetary needs, it seeks to use a variety of drones in greater numbers, but which are more financially efficient. By comparison, Kratos reports that the Valkyrie cost $6.5 million. In contrast, the current MQ-9 Reaper UAV, designed for ISR and attack missions, costs USD 38 million.
“The Marine Corps continues to seek to modernize and improve its capabilities in a rapidly evolving defense environment.” said Lt. Col. Donald Kelly of the Cunningham Group and the Marine Corps Aviation Advanced Development Team.The XQ-58 Valkyrie test determines the requirements for a low-cost, highly autonomous UAS.“.
However, even though this stage of flight testing has been satisfactorily completed, the XQ-58 Valkyrie will undergo more operational flights in the coming months, where it will have to perform a wider range of missions. It refers to a USMC drone program to provide close air support missions called the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Unmanned Aerial System Expeditionary (MUX) Tactical Aircraft (TACAIR).
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