Check Out the XQ-58A (America's Next Stealth Super Weapon?)

David Axe

David Axe

Technology, Americas

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Check Out the XQ-58A (America's Next Stealth Super Weapon?)

Wingman drones are coming. And they could change aerial warfare for any country that acquires them.

The U.S. Air Force in early March 2019 revealed a prototype for stealthy wingman drone that could accompany manned warplanes into combat.

The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, built by California-based Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems, flew for the first time over Yuma, Arizona on March 5, 2019, the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio announced.

(This first appeared in March 2019.)

The XQ-58's first flight signals an expansion of international efforts to develop unmanned aerial vehicles that can fly and fight in mixed formations with traditional, manned warplanes.

Boeing's Australian subsidiary on Feb. 27, 2019 unveiled its so-called "Airpower Teaming System," a 38-foot-long, jet-powered drone that Boeing said could carry weapons and sensors and fly as far as 2,000 miles—all while being more affordable than a $100-million manned jet.

Boeing developed the new drone in cooperation with the Australian military. After further development, the Royal Australian Air Force could acquire the UAV to quickly and cheaply add firepower to its roughly 100-strong fighter fleet and six E-7 radar planes.

"The Boeing Airpower Teaming System is designed to team with a wide range of existing military aircraft from fighters to commercial derivative aircraft," said Ashlee Erwin, a Boeing spokesperson.

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