June 17 (UPI) -- A XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aircraft completed its test objectives in a 71-minute flight last week, the U.S. Air Force announced on Monday.
The aircraft, developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., of San Diego, is regarded as an affordable potential unmanned option for missions. The drone, developed quietly in recent years, is thought to be a long-range, high subsonic drone with surveillance, strike, and electronic warfare support capability.
"The XQ-58A is the first Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology flight demonstrator with [unmanned aircraft systems] technology to change the way we fly and fight, and build and buy," said Doug Szczublewski, program manager.
Notably, it falls within the military's Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology category, whose objectives include breaking the cycle of continuously escalating costs of aircraft. It is envisioned that the planes can be used collectively, with no serious harm to a mission if one is lost.
In last week's test flight at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., the prototype aircraft "completed all test objectives," an Air Force statement said. A previous test flight in March had similar results, and three more test flights are planned.
The five test flights are planned in two phases, including evaluating system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems.