US Air Force releases new photos from tests of the XQ-58A Valkyrie drone
The US Air Force conducted a new series of tests of the XQ-58A Valkyrie drone a month and a half ago. The drone was developed by Kratos. The tests took place on December 15, 2022, but photos have only been released now.
Here's What We Know
The images confirm that the drone is capable of taking off and landing without the need for a runway. This means the US Air Force will be able to use the XQ-58A in an environment where infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged.
The drone, numbered 22-104, took part in the December test. It took off from Eglin Base in Florida. The base announced in November 2022 that it had received a pair of XQ-58A Valkyries, which were later assigned to the 40th Test Squadron.
Initially, there was no indication as to how new the UAVs purchased were. That question has now been dropped. The number 22 in the Valkyrie's serial number means that the drone was purchased in fiscal 2022, i.e. are fairly new.
However, it is still unclear whether the drones in question are Block 2 level drones. Such drones have improved specifications over the conventional XQ-58A, which weighs 6,000 pounds (2,720 kg), can climb up to 45,000 feet (13.7 km) and have a range of 3,000 miles (4,830 km).
Source: Eglin Air Force Base