Low-Cost, High-Performance Craft Represent Next Generation of Military Drones
At the 2017 Paris Air Show, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, on booth #3 A118, unveiled a new class of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that represent the future of air combat, accoding to the company. Kratos is at the forefront of unmanned aerial systems with its ability to rapidly design, develop, demonstrate and deliver affordable high-performance jet powered drones.
At the show, Kratos presents the XQ-222 VALKYRIE and UTAP-22 MAKO drones that provide fighter-like performance and are designed to function as wingmen to manned aircraft in contested airspace.
The VALKYRIE and the MAKO represent the next generation of UAVs, according to Kratos. They are highly maneuverable, stealthy, able to fly at near supersonic speeds, and can carry and deploy weapons or surveillance systems.
Kratos’ UAVs are aligned with emerging military strategies because they are reusable and lower priced — in the $2-3 million range. This makes it cost efficient to deploy them in numbers that can effectively support manned aircraft or operate independently in combat.
The VALKYRIE has been in development since July 2016, when the US Air Force awarded Kratos a contract to develop the Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) programme. After a less-than-two-year design and development effort, the VALKYRIE is scheduled for its first flight in spring of 2018.
The MAKO is already operational and is scheduled for follow-on test flights, where it will carry sensors and be teamed with manned aircraft, in June, July and August of this year.
“The MAKO and VALKYRIE represent an entirely new category of UAVs,” Eric Demarco, Kratos CEO, said. “Thanks to our target drone expertise and our in-house research and development team, we have been able to combine high performance with low cost in fully functioning aircraft. And we did it in less than two years, not decades.”