Valkyrie Unmanned Combat Aircraft Demonstrates Electronic Attack With F-35s – April 2

An XQ-58A Valkyrie autonomous unmanned combat aircraft equipped with an electronic attack payload successfully demonstrated suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) capabilities with two F-35 fighters in a recent live flight test event at Eglin AFB, Fla., Kratos Defense & Security Solutions said on Tuesday.

The test of Kratos’s low-cost Valkyrie completes the first phase of the Marine Corps’ Penetrating Affordable Autonomous Collaborative Killer-Portfolio (PAACK-P) program, part of an effort to inform requirements for the unmanned combat aircraft to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Unmanned Aerial System Expeditionary Tactical Aircraft (MUX TACAIR) for use in the SEAD role.

Kratos received a $22.9 million phase two contract modification in December 2023 to conduct additional engineering and flight tests of the Valkyrie in support of the PAACK-P program.

“MUX TACAIR promises to increase the lethality and survivability of our current crewed platforms,” Lt. Col. Bradley Buick, Marine Corps Aviation Cunningham Group Capabilities, Research, and Integration officer, said in a statement. “These platforms are the future of air warfare.”

The Marine Corps last October conducted the first flight test of the Valkyrie as part of PAACK-P, which is aimed at having the unmanned aircraft serve as a cooperative combatant.

“We’re very excited about the mission capability demonstrated during the flight and the incredible effectiveness per cost that this enables, not to mention the elimination of risk to a human pilot, and elimination of risk to expensive manned platforms,” Steve Fendley, president of Kratos’s Unmanned Systems Division, said in a statement. He also said the test included electronic warfare systems supplied by Northrop Grumman.

Kratos said all flight-test objectives were successfully met. Valkyrie can operate as a loyal wingman with manned fighters, operate in swarms, and individually.

A version of this story originally appeared in affiliate publication Defense Daily.

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