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Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie successfully completes flight 3

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc.,  a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced today that the Kratos / AFRL team has successfully completed Valkyrie Flight 3

Kratos XQ 58A Valkyrie successfully completes flight 3 XQ-58A Valkyrie pictured during its second test flight on June 11, 2019 (Picture source: 2nd Lt Randolph Abaya, 586 Flight Test Squadron)

During the 90 minute flight, the XQ-58A executed a perfect launch and met 56 of 56 baseline test points, plus two additional test points with excess fuel remaining after completion of the mission.  After successful completion of the flight, the recovery parachute system worked flawlessly, and the aircraft descended nominally under the canopy system.  In final descent, the prototype cushion system, which was employed for the initial test series but is not intended for ultimate operational use, suffered an anomaly resulting in the aircraft sustaining damage upon touchdown.  The XQ-58A Valkyrie, like all Kratos’ heritage drones and Kratos’ high performance jet target drones, are designed to be quickly repaired and reused if damage is sustained after performing operational missions. The Valkyrie has been recovered, and the damage has been initially evaluated and determined to be fully repairable. Kratos plans to address the cushion system prior to Flight 4 and complete its test flight series with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) while continuing to execute with its other Valkyrie customers.

Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said, “I am extremely proud of the team and the level of success we have achieved with the entire Valkyrie system.  We have now successfully completed three virtually flawless flights and about 270 minutes of flight time performed. 

“Based on the flights performed to date and the resulting data generated, we do not need to revise any of the airborne control systems, which is amazing for any newly developed system, but especially so for UAS.  We believe that our customer set is extremely pleased with the XQ-58A’s system performance to date.  The reliability of the cushion system is an area we must improve, and we’ll be working with our subcontractor to perfect the system before Flight 4. However, this is specifically why flight test series are performed: to address any issues ahead of full operational capability being achieved and ensure our Armed Forces are using the most reliable technologies available.”

Eric DeMarco, President & CEO of Kratos, said,  “All of Kratos is extremely proud of our partnership with the Air Force Research Lab and the incredible progress that the team is making with the XQ-58A Valkyrie.  In addition to the XQ-58A which successfully completed this most recent mission, Kratos has two additional Company owned Valkyries which missionization and flight regimes we are coordinating with our customers.  From day one our intent has been to have multiple aircraft ready to be able to support multiple customers / program needs and ensure aircraft availability is not an issue.”