US Air Force starts test flight of XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned air vehicle

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The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, a long-range, high subsonic unmanned air vehicle completed its inaugural flight March 5, 2019 at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona. (US Air Force)

The United States {Air Force|Usaf|Naval pilot} Research Laboratory (AFRL) has commenced test flights {of the|from the|in the} XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned air vehicle (UAV) being developed in partnership with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems.

The long-range, subsonic aircraft made its first flight on March 5 2019 the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona, according to a statement from 88 Air Base Wing Public Affairs on Wednesday (US time).

The statement, posted on {the US|the united states|the} Wright-Patterson Air Force Base website, said the aircraft “ behaved as expected” {during the|throughout the|through the} 76-minute flight.

There were five test flights planned in two phases. Those flights would be to evaluate system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems.

“ XQ-58A is the first {example of|sort of} a class of UAV {that is|which is|that may be} defined by low procurement and operating costs while providing game changing combat capability, ” AFRL’ s XQ-58A program manager Doug Szczublewski said in the statement.

The partnership with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems to develop the XQ-58A is part of the AFRL’ s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio, which has {the objective|the aim} to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft.

The objectives of the LCAAT initiative included designing and building UAS faster by developing better design tools, and maturing and leveraging commercial manufacturing processes to reduce build time and cost, the statement said.

VIDEO: A look at the XQ-58A from the United States Air Force Research Laboratory

The first flight of the XQ-58A Valkyrie comes after the Australian government announced at the Avalon Airshow plans to build a fighter-sized unmanned system {designed to|made to|built to} act as a “ loyal wingman” in conjunction with high value assets such as the P-8A Poseidon or E-7A Wedgetail, or with combat aircraft like the F-35A or F/A-18F.

The Boeing Airpower Teaming System is being developed {in conjunction with the|with the} Royal Australian Air Force {and the|as well as the|plus the} Defence Science & Technology (DST) Group.

Also, Boeing has partnered with companies such as BAE Systems Australia, Ferra Engineering, RUAG Australia, Micro Electronic Technologies, AME Systems, and Allied Data Systems.

“ The partnership will produce a concept demonstrator of a low cost unmanned ‘ Loyal Wingman’ aircraft, {capable of|effective at|able to} operating in concert with Air Force’ s fifth generation air combat capability, ” Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said in a statement.

“ There is significant value investing in innovative, future leaning initiatives like this, particularly in the early conceptual stages where Defence can explore concepts and define the role such capabilities can play in our national security framework. ”

VIDEO: {A look at|A glance at|A review of} the Boeing Airpower Teaming System from the manufacturer’ s website .