Breaking The Cost Barrier of Unmanned Systems

Kratos demonstrates its low-cost, runway independent UAV for US Air Force.

17 June 2019


Kratos Defense & Security Solutions recently demonstrated its XQ-58A Valkyrie low-cost unmanned air vehicle (UAV) during another successful test/demonstration flight on June 11 at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona.

The XQ-58A demonstrator was developed by Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems (KUSD) in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on the Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator (LCASD) Program, which has the objective to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft.  

in 2016, KUSD received a $40.8 million single award, cost-share contract from the AFRL. The Air Force goals for the LCSAD program include:

    • UAS Acquisition Cost: $3 million or less for the first unit up to 99 units, and $2 million or less for 100 or greater unit quantity purchases
    • 1,500 nautical mile mission radius with a 500 lb payload
    • Runway independent take-off and landing capability
    • Emphasis on the use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) materials, sub-systems, manufacturing processes, and open mission system architecture concepts.

During the latest test flight, Kratos says the UAV successfully completed its test objectives during a 71-minute flight. The Valkyrie is a multi-mission, runway-independent UAS capable of long-range flights at high-subsonic speeds and a variety of applications.

Steve Fendley, president of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, stated: “With this most recent milestone, the readiness of the XQ-58A is accelerating and increasing the near-term application opportunities for the system.  I am extremely proud of our development, production, and test teams who continue to deliver successful results, in record time, on our comprehensive system level efforts—rare within the aerospace and defence industry.”