By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
Image(s) Credit: Kratos Defense and Security Solutions (KDSS) and Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx)
June 15, 2017
According to a recent Washington Post piece, it would appear that the EDI UCAV (Extreme Deep Invader Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle), featured in the 2005 film Stealth, is about to come to life as future evolutions of the UTAP-22 Mako and XQ-222 Valkyrie. Developed by Kratos Defense and Security Solutions (KDSS) with some financial assistance ($12.6M) and organizational support from the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), the UTAP-22 Mako (Air Force) and XQ-222 Valkyrie (Navy) could potentially fly as artificially intelligent robotic wingmen for manned fighter aircraft like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II JSF (Joint Strike Fighter), and their successors, according to “aviation experts”.
The UTAP-22 Mako and XQ-222 Valkyrie AI drone aircraft will use their sensors and artificial intelligence to fly in formation with their manned squadron mates, but can also be controlled by a human pilot armed with an Android tablet computer. A July (2017) flight test over the Mojave desert will “determine just how autonomous the drones can be”. This will be followed by a “demonstrated military exercise” in the second half of 2017.
The aforementioned Washington Post piece quoted a retired Air Force General named Dave Deptula, who’s now serving as dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, although DefenseReview (DR) doesn’t know why they chose him, specifically. We’ll try to find out.
In the meantime, Defense Review sincerely hopes that the UTAP-22 and XQ-222 both end up being more “psychologically” stable than the fictional EDI, which turned out to be the UAS-equivalent of HAL (HAL 9000) from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not good.
Now, if only we can get a real-world F/A-37 Talon. That thing looked pretty awesome.
The following information on the UTAP-22 Mako and XQ-222 Valkyrie come from the Kratos Unmanned Systems Division website:
“UTAP-22 The Ultimate Wingman
Based upon the proven success of the U.S. Air Force BQM-167A aerial target, the Kratos Unmanned Tactical Aerial Platform (UTAP-22) provides the warfighter with an affordable, unmanned tactical aircraft that is capable of fighter-like performance and collaborative operations with manned assets in contested environments.
The UTAP-22 has successfully flown independent and collaborative operations with a manned fighter aircraft, and is ready for sensor integration as well as deployed operations. Superior maneuverability and payload versatility are key features that make the UTAP-22 the ultimate wingman for high-performance manned/unmanned teaming operations in contested airspace.
Length: 20.1 ft
Wingspan 10.5 ft
Max Speed: 0.91 Mach
Min Altitude: 20 ft
Max Altitude: 50,000 ft
Max Range: 1,400 NM
Representing a clean-sheet, low-cost UAS solution, the XQ-222 is changing the paradigm for tactical UAS technology. The XQ-222 delivers a combination of long-range, high-speed, and maneuverability, along with the capability of delivering a mix of lethal weapons from its internal bomb bay and wing stations.
Equally adept in the role of Strike or Air-to-Air UAS, the XQ-222 is the future for manned/unmanned teaming and is the affordable alternative for ISR, Strike, Air-to-Air or EA missions. Runway-independence and extreme range deliver maximum operational flexibility and utility to the Warfighter.
Length: 29 ft
Wingspan: 22 ft
Max Speed: 0.85 Mach
Min Altitude: 50 ft
Max Altitude: 45,000 ft
Max Range: 4,700 NM (Approx.)
Contact CEi: +1.916.991.1990
Toll Free: 866.606.KTOS”
Company and Organization Contact Info:
Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx)
General Email: [email protected]
Media Email: [email protected].mil
Warfighters Email: [email protected] (Get in touch re: mission-essential problems)
Kratos Defense and Security Solutions (KDSS) Corporate Headquarters
Bridge Pointe Corporate Centre
4820 Eastgate Mall, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92121
5381 Raley Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95838
Technology & Training
5971 Kingstowne Village Pkwy, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22315
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