Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie

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XQ-58 Valkyrie
XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator first flight.jpg
The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator on its inaugural flight, 5 March 2019 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona
Role Unmanned combat aerial vehicle
National origin United States
Manufacturer Kratos Defense & Security Solutions
First flight 5 March 2019
Status In development
Primary user United States Air Force

The Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie is an experimental stealthy unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) designed and built by Kratos Defense & Security Solutions for the United States Air Force Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator (LCASD) program, under the USAF Research Laboratory’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) project portfolio. It was initially designated the XQ-222. The Valkyrie successfully completed its first flight on 5 March 2019 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.[1]

Development and design[edit]

A XQ-58 Valkyrie deploys an Altius-600 unmanned aircraft system

The XQ-58 Valkyrie falls within the USAF Research Laboratory’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio, whose objectives include designing and building unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) faster by developing better design tools and maturing and leveraging commercial manufacturing processes to reduce build time and cost.[1] The role of the LCAAT is to escort the F-22 or F-35 during combat missions, and to be able to deploy weapons or surveillance systems.[2][3]

The XQ-58 is designed to act as a "loyal wingman" that is controlled by a parent aircraft to accomplish tasks such as scouting, defensive fire, or absorbing enemy fire if attacked.[4] It features stealth technology with a trapezoidal fuselage with a chined edge, V-tail, and an S-shaped air intake.[3] The XQ-58 is capable of being deployed as part of a swarm of drones, with or without direct pilot control. Though the XQ-58 is capable of conventional take-offs and landings, it can also be launched from "nondescript launch modules", such as support ships, shipping containers, and semi-trailer trucks.[5][6] Kratos could produce between 250-500 Valkyries per year.[7]

Operational history[edit]

The XQ-58's first flight took place on 5 March 2019, approximately two-and-a-half years from contract award. A total of five test flights were planned in two phases to evaluate system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems.[1]

On 23 July 2020, the Air Force awarded contracts to Kratos, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and General Atomics authorizing the companies to compete for the Skyborg program, an effort to field an unmanned wingman cheap enough to sustain losses in combat but capable of supporting manned fighters in hostile environments; Kratos may use the XQ-58 as its submission, although it was developed separately under the LCASD program and another airframe might be submitted.[8][9][10][11] Kratos was further down-selected, along with Boeing and General Atomics, on 7 December 2020. Submissions were delivered by May 2021 for flight tests in July 2021.[12][13]

On 26 March 2021, the XQ-58A completed its sixth test flight, opening the doors of its internal weapons bay for the first time and releasing a 27 lb (12 kg) Area-I Altius-600 small unmanned aircraft system (UAS).[14][15][16]


The second XQ-58 Valkyrie taking off from Laguna Army Airfield.

Data from Kratos Defense Data sheet [17]

General characteristics

  • Capacity: 600 lb (272 kg) internal, 600 lb (272 kg) external
  • Length: 30 ft (9.1 m)
  • Wingspan: 27 ft (8.2 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,500 lb (1,134 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 6,000 lb (2,722 kg)


  • Cruise speed: 476 kn (548 mph, 882 km/h)
  • Range: 3,000 nmi (3,500 mi, 5,600 km) approximate
  • Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (14,000 m)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c "XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator completes inaugural flight". 88 Air Base Wing Public Affairs, Wright Patterson AFB. 6 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Kratos to launch XQ-222 Valkyrie, UTAP-22 Mako at Paris Air Show 2017". 15 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b Rogoway, Tyler. "More Details On Kratos' Optionally Expendable Air Combat Drones Emerge". The Drive. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  4. ^ Liptak, Andrew (22 May 2019). "'Skyborg' could let F-35 and F-15 fighter jets control their own companion drones". The Verge. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  5. ^ Mizokami, Kyle (8 March 2020). "The Air Force's New Weapon Is…Shipping Containers?". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  6. ^ Trevithick, Joseph (16 October 2019). "This Containerized Launcher For The XQ-58A Valkyrie Combat Drone Could Be A Game Changer". The Drive. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  7. ^ Valkyrie success may push Skyborg drone concept to other programs, Kratos says. Defense News. 18 July 2022.
  8. ^ Four companies win contracts to build the Air Force’s Skyborg drone. Defense News. 24 July 2020.
  9. ^ 4 Companies Move Forward in Skyborg Competition. Air Force Magazine. 24 July 2020.
  10. ^ Air Force Chooses Four Contractors To Compete For Skyborg Drone. Breaking Defense. 24 July 2020.
  11. ^ AF Will Choose Skyborg Prototypes This Summer. Breaking Defense. 28 July 2020.
  12. ^ These 3 companies will build prototypes for the Air Force’s Skyborg drone. Defense News. 7 December 2020.
  13. ^ Three Companies Win New Skyborg Prototyping Contracts. Air Force Magazine. 8 December 2020.
  14. ^ Valkyrie drone launches even smaller drone from inside payload bay. Defense News. 5 April 2021.
  15. ^ Valkyrie UAS Launches Small UAS from Weapons Bay. Aviation International News. 6 April 2021.
  16. ^ AFRL successfully completes XQ-58A Valkyrie flight and payload release test. Air Recognition. 6 April 2021.
  17. ^ "XQ-58A Valkyrie" (PDF). Kratos Defense. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2022.

External links[edit]