XQ-58A Valkyrie Tail #1 prepares for transfer to Air Force Museum
By Rachel Simones, Air Force Research Laboratory
/ Published July 27, 2021
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – Air Force Research Laboratory engineers prepared the XQ-58A Valkyrie Tail #1 to be transferred to the National Museum of the United States Air Force here June 1.
The XQ-58A Valkyrie is a low cost, high performance unmanned air vehicle. Tail #1 was the first aircraft developed in partnership between AFRL and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. to be a part of AFRL’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology portfolio.
“Kratos manufactured this aircraft and AFRL conducted flight tests with it four times,” said Dave Hart, the chief engineer for the Autonomous Collaborative Platforms program. “Transferring it to the Air Force Museum helps to show the world what AFRL is capable of and it truly tells the AFRL story.”
The collaborative partnership included Kratos' design and production of the aircraft, while the AFRL Aerospace Systems Directorate provided critical turbine inlet integration, structural testing, and evaluation of the XQ-58A's electrical and control subsystems.
“The XQ-58A Valkyrie represents a sea of change in the way the Air Force can approach the design, development, production, and operation of unmanned aircraft,” said Steve Fendley, the President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division. “The Valkyrie is the first Department of Defense aircraft system to break the historical cost per weight parametric, and it is the first UAV designed to operate with 4th and 5th generation manned aircraft.”
The XQ-58A was successfully designed, built, and demonstrated after a period of only two and a half years from contract award to first flight. The employment of a class of attritable aircraft like the XQ-58A provides the warfighter the opportunity to project air power with mass, complexity, and unpredictability. The vision is that these aircraft will be used in a fractionated networked battlespace, forcing a cost-imposing effect on future adversaries.
“The objective of this program was to design, manufacture and flight test an aircraft in 24 months,” said Hart. “Our flight tests validated this overall system for performance capabilities and leveraged AFRL’s facilities. When we started this program, I had no idea it was going to revolutionize the Air Force.”
The aircraft will be transferred to the National Air Force Museum and displayed at a tentative future date.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,000 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com.