Air Force offers glimpse of new, stealthy combat drone during first flight
By: Kyle Rempfer 1 day ago
The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, a long-range, high-subsonic unmanned combat air vehicle, completed its inaugural flight Tuesday at Yuma Proving Grounds, in Arizona.
The Air Force’s fleet of current drones, such as the MQ-9 Reaper, are basically giant gas bags that fly ― able to loiter for long periods above friendly forces in order to provide armed overwatch and intelligence.
But the airspace over future battlefields will likely not be permissive, and so new drones will need to be developed.
XQ-58A Valkyries were developed under the low-cost attritable aircraft technology program ― meaning they’re cheap and can be lost in combat without too much concern.
The drone and its derivatives are anticipated to perform a range of missions, including suppression of enemy air defenses, offensive and defensive counter-air maneuvers, nap-of-the-earth or terrain masking flight and high-altitude flying.