Kratos Defense & Security Solutions announced the successful completion of the first phase of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Penetrating Affordable Autonomous Collaborative Killer – Portfolio (PAACK-P) programme.

This comes after a live flight test at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, where the Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) effectively collaborated with F-35 aircraft and demonstrated its electronic attack (EA) capabilities.

“The XQ-58A successfully flew alongside two F-35s, showcasing its potential as a “loyal wingman” for manned fighter jets. Furthermore, the Valkyrie’s onboard EA payload autonomously detected, identified, and geolocated enemy targets. This data was then transmitted to collaborating aircraft, enabling a coordinated electronic attack against those targets. The XQ-58A’s performance during the PAACK-P Phase 1 testing suggests its suitability for the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) role. By employing electronic jamming techniques, the XQ-58A can neutralise enemy air defence systems, paving the way for manned aircraft to conduct their missions with reduced risk.

The utilisation of unmanned systems like the XQ-58A offers a significant cost advantage over traditional manned aircraft. This is particularly relevant for high-risk missions, where the potential loss of a pilot and an expensive fighter jet is a major concern. The successful demonstration not only validates the XQ-58A’s capabilities but also informs the development of the MQ-58B, the planned production variant. Data and lessons learned from the XQ-58A’s performance will directly influence the design specifications for the MQ-58B, ensuring it meets the specific requirements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Expeditionary (MUX) Tactical Aircraft (TACAIR) for the SEAD role.”

For more information, head here.

Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
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Jim (@guest_808838)
29 days ago

Honestly I have to ask how this is any different to using a MALD or SPEAR EW just at a vastly larger cost.

Not to mention giving the game away by flying a non stealthy drone with stealthy F35’s.

Patrick (@guest_808864)
29 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I imagine it can be fitted with different payloads. One I keep seeing is it fitted with air to air missiles that are controlled by the f-35, essentially doubling its AA load out. Just like the “ghost fleet” of unmanned ships that tag along with carrier groups carrying mk41 and sm6. It allows you to have a very cheap platform as it really only needs a data link in able to perform combat as the f-35 will be its “brains”.

DaveyB (@guest_809914)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

What led you to believe the XQ-58A Valkyrie is not steathy? Kratos have been saying the XQ-58A Valkyrie is a stealthy drone from the first publicity drawings. This was a key requirement from the USAF. The idea is that the drone acts either as a mobile airborne jammer or as the USAF have shown it can carry weapons to take out air defences. Why the USMC aren’t saying this, I can’t really say. As the trial aircraft they are currently using were passed over to them by the USAF, after they finished trickling them. The advantage of mounting the jammer… Read more »