AFLCMC Awards Contract for Skyborg Prototypes
(Source: Air Force Materiel Command; issued Dec 07, 2020)
Kratos, which has developed and test-flown the XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned combat aircraft, is one of the three companies awarded contracts to develop missionized prototypes under the US Air Force’s Skyborg program. (Kratos photo)
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio --- The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center has awarded to three companies to produce missionized prototypes with the ability to fly in experimentation events while teaming with manned aircraft.

The contracts were awarded with a 24-month period of performance to:
-- The Boeing Co., for $25,748,180;
-- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., for $14,317,933; and
-- Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems Inc., for $37,771,577.

The aim of the Skyborg Vanguard program is to integrate autonomous attritable unmanned air vehicle (UAV) technology with open mission systems to enable manned-unmanned teaming.

Skyborg will provide the foundation on which the Air Force can build an airborne autonomous ‘best of breed’ system that adapts, orients, and decides at machine speed for a wide variety of increasingly complex mission sets.

“This award is a major step forward for our game-changing Skyborg capability—this award supporting our operational experimentation is truly where concepts become realities. We will experiment to prove out this technology and to do that we will aggressively test and fly to get this capability into the hands of our warfighters,” said Brig. Gen. Dale White, Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Advanced Aircraft. He, along with Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), serves as the leadership for the Skyborg program.

Skyborg is one of three Vanguard programs identified in 2019 as part of the Air Force Science and Technology (S&T) 2030 initiative. These high priority development efforts are meant to rapidly field systems, by pairing technology development under AFRL with the acquisitions capabilities found in AFLCMC.

“The value in this close partnership between AFRL and AFLCMC is becoming clear. When we field proven technology faster it gives our warfighters the edge they need to win the day,” said Pringle.

Initial vehicles are anticipated to be delivered no later than May 2021 to conduct initial flight test prior to proceeding into experimentation events beginning in July 2021.

There will be competition throughout the entire period of performance of these awards. The effort will consist of multiple phases, meant to continue evaluation of the performance of the vendors. These vehicles will not only serve as platforms to test the Skyborg Autonomous Core System but will also help to demonstrate the competitive advantage of autonomous attritable aircraft by participating in user focused and influenced experimentation events.


Kratos Receives $37.7 Million Skyborg Program Contract Award from USAF Advanced Aircraft Office
(Source: Kratos Defense and Security; issued Dec. 08, 2020)
SAN DIEGO --- Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. announced today that Kratos has received a $37,771,577 award from the AFLCMC/WA Advanced Aircraft Program Executive Office for the Skyborg Delivery Order (DO) 2 contract to integrate, test, and deliver XQ-58A Valkyrie aircraft.

Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said, “Kratos is excited to announce the receipt of the Skyborg DO 2 contract, meeting a long-term strategic objective. The Skyborg Program, one of three USAF Vanguard Programs, is focused on expanding the envelope of the application of unmanned aircraft use, particularly with respect to Artificial Intelligence.

“Kratos XQ-58A has been flying since March of 2019, approximately 30 months after aircraft conception, and was designed specifically for these applications and the ability to support missions from ISR to Strike in manned-unmanned teaming scenarios or in unmanned only mission sets. These capabilities are intended to substantially increase the effectiveness of our country’s military mission sets, while at the same time reducing risk to the exquisite assets and manned elements—saving resources and, most importantly, lives.”

The contract includes three phases of design, integration, and flight testing of the Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie system, integrating multiple customer-defined mission payloads and customer-defined autonomy in coordination/cooperation with the Skyborg System Design Agent company, Leidos. Kratos currently works in partnership with Leidos’ Dynetics on the Gremlins Program.

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. develops and fields transformative, affordable technology, platforms and systems for United States national security-related customers, allies and commercial enterprises. At Kratos, affordability is a technology, and we specialize in unmanned systems, satellite communications, cyber security/warfare, microwave electronics, missile defense, hypersonic systems, training, combat systems and next generation turbo jet and turbo fan engine development.


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