The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, a long-range, high subsonic unmanned air vehicle developed by San Diego-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and the Air Force Research Laboratory, completed its inaugural flight on March 5 at Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona.

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XQ-58A

According to a U.S. Air Force press release, the aircraft completed 76 minutes of air time during the first flight. The XQ-58A has five planned test flights in two phases to further evaluate its functionality, the aerodynamic performance and its launch and recovery systems.

“XQ-58A is the first example of a class of UAV that is defined by low procurement and operating costs while providing game changing combat capability,” said Doug Szczublewski, the Air Force Lab’s XQ-58A program manager, in a statement.

The joint effort between Kratos and the Air Force Research Laboratory came about in attempt to break the escalating cost of tactically relevant aircraft and was fostered by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Low Cost Atrritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT). LCAAT’s objective is to design and build unmanned aircraft faster through processes that reduce build time and cost.

An aircraft such as the XQ-58A may someday accompany manned aircraft as an unmanned "wingman."

Reporter Mariel Concepcion can be reached at mconcepcion@sdbj.com or 858-634-4625.