US Air Force’s new ‘low-cost’ Valkyrie drone damaged on THIRD test flight


A US Air Force program aimed at developing a low-cost unmanned aircraft has hit a snag, after a drone prototype sustained damage while attempting to land.

The Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie experienced a malfunction during its third test flight at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona earlier this week.

“High surface winds and a malfunction of the vehicle’s provisional flight test recovery system resulted in a mishap,” the US Air Force said in a press release.

In a separate statement, the drone’s manufacturer acknowledged that the Valkyrie had “suffered an anomaly resulting in the aircraft sustaining damage upon touchdown.”

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The unmanned aircraft is part of the Air Force’s Low-Cost Attritable Strike Unmanned Aerial System Demonstration (LCASD). The initiative seeks to create an affordable (by Pentagon standards) unmanned combat aircraft that can carry out one-way missions if necessary. The Valkyrie is not able to make runway landings, and instead uses a parachute recovery system. Parachute technology for drones dates back to the 1970s – raising questions about why such a well-tested and proven system malfunctioned on the Valkyrie.

Kratos reportedly received $7 million from the US Air Force in 2016 towards the development of the drone – mere pennies compared to larger Pentagon contracts such as the F-35, which could end up costing taxpayers close to $1 trillion.

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Author: HEDGE

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