The US Navy has awarded Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems a $15.5 million contract for the delivery of two XQ-58A unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
According to the Pentagon contract notice from December 30, the UAS are to be equipped with sensor and weapon system payloads that would demonstrate objectives of a previously unknown program dubbed the “penetrating affordable autonomous collaborative killer.”
The contract covers non-recurring engineering, system/subsystem integration, installation, testing, ground and flight operations, logistics, and maintenance for the UAS as well as government-owned, contractor-operated operations for flight test and demonstration events at government test ranges.
Worth noting is that the demonstration is expected to be completed in September 2023.
Few details are available about the new project, but it could be part of the service’s efforts related to the development of the sixth-generation Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, which will constitute both manned and unmanned assets in a system of systems approach.
The US Air Force has already used the XQ-58A to trial a reusable “wingman” UAS controlled by the parent aircraft for a range of missions. The systems completed a range of tests with the F-22 and F-35 fifth-generation fighter aircraft.