The U.S. Air Force is planning to acquire XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aircraft from Kratos Defense and Security Solutions to conduct further drone prototyping and experimentation activities, Defense News reported Monday.
Will Roper, the Air Force's assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient, said at the Paris Air Show the service seeks funds to purchase around 20 to 30 of the unmanned aerial systems through a rapid procurement process. Kratos is working with the Air Force Research Laboratory to develop Valkyrie as part of the Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator program focused on allowing teaming operations between manned and unmanned aircraft.
The Air Force also wants to integrate artificial intelligence as well as sensors and other weaponry into Valkyrie that will allow the UAS to autonomously respond to threats. The service plans to issue a decision on the Valkyrie development program by fiscal 2021 ahead of production and fielding operations.