24.1.2020

4th Successful flight for the XQ-58A Valkyrie

XQ-58A Valkyrie expands flight envelope and safely recovered in fourth test – link

Source: Flight Global

Source: AFRL XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator in 2019 flight

Article Headlines

  • The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) flew its XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator successfully for a fourth time on 23 January
  • The successful recovery of the UAV follows a third flight in October 2020 when the aircraft was damaged after its air cushion landing system did not deploy correctly during landing
  • The AFRL says that the XQ-58A met all its test objectives and expanded its flight envelope, including flying at an undisclosed higher altitude as part of an effort to gather data in representative real-world flight conditions
  • A total of five flights are planned for the XQ-58A, with objectives that include evaluating system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems
  • The fifth flight, scheduled for later this year, will be a capability demonstration showcasing the ability of the vehicle to support operational needs
  • The UAV is intended to be “attritable”, or cheap enough to be built in large numbers and lost to combat attrition

Overview & Comments

  • The XQ-58A first flew on March 5, 2019
  • On its second flight it flew for 71 minutes
  • A third test flight was conducted on October 9, 2019 in which it flew for 90 minutes, however high surface winds and a malfunction of the vehicle’s provisional flight test recovery system resulted in a mishap after landing which damaged the aircraft
  • Interestingly, although its early stages in development, it already seems that the XQ-58A is gaining competition – See “A new competitor to the XQ-58A Valkyrie?” 

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