Diplomat

Did Valkyrie drone launch another drone?

During a recent flight test, a Valkyrie drone has launched another drone which the Air Force Research Laboratory has announced on Monday.

Notably, the XQ-58A Valkyrie made a long-range unnamed aerial vehicle that is capable of higher subsonic speeds. This was built by Kratos Unnamed Aerial Systems for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) program which first flew on 5th March 2019.

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On 26th March 2021, at the time of the sixth flight test, the aircraft has conducted its first payload which was released from its internal weapons bay. However, launching an Area-I ALTIUS-600 small anonymous aircraft system.

Currently, Air Force looks relatively inexpensive, expendable drones like the Valkyrie have become a potential artificial-intelligence-driven autonomous platform that may fly alongside and supports manned fighter aircraft. Here the major focus lies on the Skyborg program.

Well, the Air Force’s Skyborg project for which Kratoss, Boeing, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems are now developing prototypes. It is all about fielding an autonomous unmanned system that “enable the Air Force to operate and sustain low-cost, teamed aircraft that can thwart adversaries with quick, decisive actions in contested environments,” as mentioned by the service.

The smaller, tube-launched autonomous ALTIUS-600 drones must provide additional support in the form of intelligence gathering and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, counter-drone, and strike competencies.

However, the recent Valkyrie test is not the first time when the payload doors have been opened in flight, Alyson Turri, who is the demonstration program manager mentioned in a statement. However, this time the XQ-58A drone also flew higher and faster than that of the previous tests.

As per the recent test followed by the Valkyrie drone’s fifth flight test in December, it involves the aircraft that flies alongside Air Force F-22 and F-35A fighters and a Marine Crops F-35B.

Well, the rocket-launched Valkyrie drone conducted a semi-autonomous flight that may carry a gatewayONE payload that is built in order to permit the different fifth-generation aircraft for communication. Moreover, the communication tool loses its connectivity as soon as the aircraft took off.

In spite of connectivity problems at the time of the testing in December, the Air Force has overcome the digital security barriers to permit the F-22’s Intra-Flight Data Link and F-35’s Multifunctional Advance Data Link for communicating and transmitting data and also for demonstrating the possibilities of this technology.

In the recent Valkyrie drone test, the Air Force Research Laboratory mentioned that like the past tests conducted at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona and helped by Kratos and Area-I, “further demonstrates the utility of affordable, high-performance unmanned air vehicles.”

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