Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. a Technology Company in the Defense, National Security and Global Markets and an industry-leading provider of high-performance, jet-powered unmanned aerial systems announced the Marine Corps XQ-58A Valkyrie, a highly autonomous, low-cost tactical unmanned air vehicle successfully completed its first test flight October 3, 2023, at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Kratos partnered with the Marine Corps, the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD (R&E)), the Naval Air Systems Command and Naval Warfare Center Aircraft Division to facilitate the ongoing research, development, test and evaluation of the Marine Corps XQ-58A Valkyrie.
This joint collaboration was supported by the 40th Flight Test Squadron, 96th Test Wing and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. This flight marks a key milestone in the Marine Corps’ Penetrating Affordable Autonomous Collaborative Killer – Portfolio (PAACK-P) program. Future test flights inform Marine Corps XQ-58A Valkyrie requirements for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Unmanned Aerial System Expeditionary (MUX) Tactical Aircraft (TACAIR).
“This XQ-58A test flight and the data collected inform future requirements for the warfighter, while fueling innovation and experimentation opportunities within Marine Corps modernization and industry partnership,” said Scott Bey, portfolio manager of OUSD (R&E), Mission Capabilities, Prototypes and Experiments.
The aircraft performed as expected. The XQ-58A has a total of six planned test flights with objectives that include evaluating the platform’s ability to support a variety of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions; the effectiveness of autonomous electronic support to crewed platforms; the potential for AI-enabled platforms to augment combat air patrols; and continuing to mature other manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) capability objectives.
“The Marine Corps constantly seeks to modernize and enhance its capabilities in a rapidly evolving security environment,” said Lt. Col. Donald Kelly, Headquarters Marine Corps Aviation Cunningham Group and Advanced Development Team. “Testing the XQ-58 Valkyrie determines requirements for a highly autonomous, low-cost tactical UAS that compliments the need for agile, expeditionary and lethal capabilities in support of both the Marine Corps’ stand-in force operations in austere environments and the Joint Force.”