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US UAV and UCAV Technology

Flyaway

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TomcatViP

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Disclosed in a 26 March US Department of Defense (DoD) contract modification for USD98.9 million to increase the scope of low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 5, the reintroduction of one aircraft for the US Navy (USN) effectively removes the prospect of Northrop Grumman having to pause production across Lots 6 and 7 for two years until FY 2023. This had been touted due to budgetary constraints.

“[Northrop Grumman is] pleased to announce Congress reintroduced a production aircraft back in to the FY 2021 budget as part of LRIP Lot 5, which will prevent a production pause,” a company spokesperson said.
 

Flyaway

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QuadroFX

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XQ-58A Valkyrie drone successfully launched an even smaller unmanned aircraft from inside its internal weapons bay on March 26, the U.S. Air Force announced Monday.

photo: Wright-Patterson AirBase
 

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NASA

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Some images from 40th Flight Test Squadron with what looks like the MAKO that was modified to carry the Skyborg autonomous software for Autonomous Attritable Aircraft Experiment. It was spotted with some modifications on top of the intake. Seems like the intake was modified to allow for something right on top of it.



 

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TomcatViP

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Serpentine intake + IRST relocation (the only explanation that would make sense):

message-editor%2F1620663822491-utap-22modificationswitharrows.jpg


 

Josh_TN

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Would have thought the FoV would kinda suck in that configuration compared to a forward or top mounted sensor.
 

AeroFranz

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puzzling...it's not like they're getting much better fan face blockage with the modified inlet. If i were to guess, this was a 'quick-and-dirty' mod. Maybe modifying non-structural parts (inlet) was the most expeditious way of achieving their goals (as ugly as it looks!)
 

TomcatViP

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Yes. Probably a Quick mod to evaluate the benefits of reducing RCS (aside of the obvious Serpentine, the IRST is also shielded that way).
Next, if that proves to have any operational utility, they would go back to the drawing board and send a nice updated bill to the USAF.
That's the best way to do it. No matter what you think of Kratos, cost efficient they are.
 

red admiral

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The "serpentine" intake comment just looks made up by the drive because it's pretty obviously not serpentine.

Much more likely it's just the easiest way of making the intake still work when you mount and IRST right in front of it's original position. E.g. extending it forwards probably easier than bifurcated either side.

This bottom IRST location vs top mounted - depends what altitude you're flying at. The earth isn't flat so co-altitude is look-down, especially when you include the aircraft angle of attack as well.
 

CiTrus90

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Based on the limited information that can be gathered from these images, the rear of the drone appears more or less unchanged.

Did they not notice that the vertical stabilizer is completely different as well? :rolleyes:
 

AeroFranz

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just realized that an additional reason for the odd location of the IRST may have to do with how the vehicle is recovered. Remind me, but it is lowered by parachute on its belly, right (possibly with airbags)? In that case you don't want the relatively expensive sensor to risk impacting the ground.
 

DWG

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just realized that an additional reason for the odd location of the IRST may have to do with how the vehicle is recovered. Remind me, but it is lowered by parachute on its belly, right (possibly with airbags)? In that case you don't want the relatively expensive sensor to risk impacting the ground.
Sudden Phoenix flash-backs.....
 

AeroFranz

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If I had to guess, the increase in vertical fin area was required by the additional lateral area ahead of the cg due to the weird IRST installation, to restore lateral stability.
 

tequilashooter

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This is pretty damn cool. https://naukatehnika.com/lyogkij-avtomobil-vmesto-xq-58a-valkyrie.html

The basic version of the ALTUIS-600 is designed for reconnaissance - a 12-kilogram UAV can carry a survey station, and a radar reconnaissance module. The payload can weigh up to 3.1 kg, which also allows the installation of a combat unit to turn the UAV into a barrage munition, and a kinetic interceptor to fight enemy UAVs. At the same time, the ALTIUS-600 can stay in the air for more than 4 hours, and the maximum range is 440 km. The miniature UAV was combined with a small DAGOR vehicle, which can be transported in the cargo hold of the CH-47 Chinook, and on the external suspension UH-60 Black Hawk. The machine received a turbodiesel JP8, with which DAGOR develops a maximum speed of 110 km/h, and the power reserve is 805 km. This allows you to get to the launch site as quickly as possible, and hit the target, located hundreds of kilometers, or conduct effective reconnaissance.
 

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