XQ-58A Valkyrie was secretly developed by the United States with the mission of scouting, electronic warfare or fire support.
XQ-58A Valkyrie can easily link with stealth fighters to lock targets and support combat.
Developing stealthy UAVs in combination with fifth-generation fighters is considered a deliberate move by the US. The stealthy UAVs with small size will assume the role of reconnaissance, targeting targets for stealthy fighter jets.
In addition, stealthy UAVs still have the ability to carry weapons to attack targets when needed. With a range of about 3,219 km, subsonic speed, XQ-58A Valkyrie is considered one of the most modern stealth UAVs in the world.
This XQ-58A Valkyrie UAV can operate alone or as a fighter support for manned fighter aircraft.
XQ-58A Valkyrie has the ability to take off from the narrow runways not suitable for manned fighters, can meet combat requirements in fierce battlefields. The long range allows the XQ-58A Valkyrie to penetrate through the enemy’s defensive approach from unpredictable directions.
The XQ-58A Valkyrie had to undergo five test flights in two stages to evaluate the system function, aerodynamic performance, and operability of the launch and recall systems. This UCAV model may change the way the US Air Force will operate in the near future.
Currently, several other countries are also developing UACV to support fighters similar to the XQ-58A Valkyrie. Australia and Boeing are working together to develop a UAV called the Airpower Teaming System (ATS) with similar form and performance to conventional fighters.
Meanwhile, Russia is also developing the stealthy S-70 Okhotnik-B UAV model that can be controlled from Su-57 fighter jet to become a powerful “close-stealth pair”.
In late September 2019, the Russian Ministry of Defense released a video of the first coordinated flight between the Su-57 5th Generation stealth fighter and the S-70 Okhotnik heavy unmanned combat aerial vehicle.
The representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense said that this was part of the “Okhotnik” UCAV fully test program with full configuration, allowing access to combat ready areas. It is understood that, if equipped with weapons, Okhotnik UCAV can join the battle with the Su-57.