US Air Force Valkyrie drone releases another drone during flight test


The US Air Force Research Laboratory has completed the sixth flight test of the XQ-58A Valkyrie drone and successfully released a smaller drone from its internal weapons bay for the first time during the flight.

The flight test, which was conducted on March 26, 2021 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona demonstrated the ability to launch an ALTIUS-600 small, unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) from the internal weapons bay of the XQ-58A.

The test was conducted in partnership with Kratos UAS and Area-I and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), after they had partnered to design and fabricate the SUAS carriage and developed the software to enable release.

After successful release of the SUAS, the XQ-58A completed additional test points to expand its demonstrated operating envelope.

Alyson Turri, demonstration program manager said, “This is the sixth flight of the Valkyrie and the first time the payload bay doors have been opened in flight. “In addition to this first SUAS separation demonstration, the XQ-58A flew higher and faster than previous flights.”

This test further demonstrates the utility of affordable, high performance unmanned air vehicles, said the AFRL.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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