U.S.A.F.’s XQ-67A Uncrewed Air Vehicle Performs Maiden Flight

XQ-67A is part of second generation of autonomous collaborative platforms, succeeding the XQ-58A Valkyrie
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 07:15 AM, March 1, 2024
  • 918
U.S.A.F.’s XQ-67A Uncrewed Air Vehicle Performs Maiden Flight
XQ-67A OBSS Uncrewed Air Vehicle

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Aerospace Systems Directorate performed the first flight of the XQ-67A, an Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) uncrewed air vehicle, at the General Atomics Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, California, on February 28, 2024.

Part of the second generation of autonomous collaborative platforms (ACP), succeeding the XQ-58A Valkyrie, the XQ-67A underscores a notable shift in aircraft design through a common chassis approach.

GA-ASI has now validated the “genus/species” concept first developed with AFRL as part of the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Platform Sharing (LCAAPS) program focused on building several aircraft variants from a common core chassis. Under LCAAPS, AFRL and GA-ASI explored development of a chassis, termed a “genus”, as the foundational core architecture from which several “species” of aircraft can be built.

Doug Meador, the autonomous collaborative platform capability lead, emphasized the cost and time-saving advantages of leveraging standard substructures, likening it to the automotive industry's product line construction. This method enables building upon a foundational structure with different aircraft "kits," such as an Off-Board Sensing Station or Off-Board Weapon Station (OBWS).

Meador broke down the autonomous collaborative platform into key components: autonomy, human systems integration, sensor and weapons payloads, networks and communications, and the air vehicle, highlighting the evolution of this class of systems since the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technologies (LCAAT) initiative.

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