The US Air Force has taken the wraps off its new stealth fighter drone.
It was developed in just over 2.5 years، from contract award to first flight – a milestone that took place March 5 at the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona.
The Air Force released footage from the unmanned XQ-58A Valkyrie’s inaugural flight this week، and says the demonstrator craft behaved ‘as expected.’ While the Air Force is often guarded about the progress of its emerging craft، flight enthusiasts were treated to a brief look at the new Valkyrie as it took its maiden voyage in the Arizona skies thanks to a 15-second clip shared on YouTube this week.
The XQ-58 Valkyrie is a long-range، high subsonic unmanned air vehicle (UAV) developed by the Air Force Research Lab in partnership with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems.
During its inaugural flight، it was in the air for 76 minutes.
The combat drone will be put through a total of five planned test flights in its two phases of development.
This will help to evaluate and perfect system functionality، aerodynamic performance، and launch and recovery systems، the Air Force says.
XQ-58 was developed under the Air Force Research Lab’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio، which is working to create military craft at cheaper prices.
‘The objectives of the LCAAT initiative include designing and building UAS faster by developing better design tools، and maturing and leveraging commercial manufacturing processes to reduce build time and cost،’ the Air Force said in a statement this month.