USAF’s XQ-67A Drone Makes First Flight | Aviation

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On Feb. 28, 2024, the XQ-67A made its first flight (Photo: USAF)

AFRL announced that its new XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station successfully accomplished its first flight.

USAF’s Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) announced that on Feb. 28, 2024, its new XQ-67A accomplished its first flight. Developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) as part of the USAF’s Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) program, first images of the XQ-67A were released by GA-ASI earlier this month.

As the name suggests, the XQ-67A is expected to act as an attritable forward radar node, filling the USAF’s current urgent needs for such a platform. Distinguishable features on the XQ-67A is what appears to be a set of side looking radars on either side of the fuselage. With the USAF having previously expressed its desires for a distributed combination of manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft to replace the E-8 JSTARS, the XQ-67A seems to be one of the low observable unmanned aerial surveillance platforms that fit the equation.

XQ-67A lands after finishing its first flight (Photo: USAF)

The XQ-67A is a first of other possible low-cost drone solutions to rise in the coming years

According to AFRL the OBSS program is an evolution of the former Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technologies (LCAAT), which previously developed the XQ-58A Valkyrie. After the LCAAT program came the Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Platform Sharing (LCAAPS) program, which transferred the technology and knowledge gained from the XQ-58A into the OBSS program. The XQ-67A is told to be the first of the second generation of such Autonomous Collaborative Platform (ACP). Doug Meador, ACP…

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