Kratos conducts UTAP-22 flight test
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has successfully performed the second flight of its Unmanned Tactical Aerial Platform (UTAP-22) on the US Navy test range at China Lake, California, the company announced on 3 December.
The flight consisted of collaborative airborne operations with an AV-8B Harrier manned fighter aircraft. Command and control was conducted through a tactical data link; and semi-autonomous tasks and autonomous flight in formation with the AV-8B were also executed, along with transfer of UTAP-22 control between non-line-of-sight (over the horizon) operators in the tactical network, and transfer of control (handoff) from the tactical network to an independent dedicated control link.
Kratos describes the UTAP-22 as a high performance jet aircraft that is designed for tactical payload operation/delivery and survivability in challenging environments. Few details or specifications of the aircraft have been released by the company.
Jerry Beaman, president unmanned systems, Kratos, said: ‘This flight demonstrated the utility of manned/unmanned teaming operations, providing the warfighter with new capabilities as a front line force multiplier. This successful mission, our first test of manned/unmanned operations was a major step forward in our unmanned tactical aerial system strategy and road map.
‘I firmly believe our UTAP-22 concept of a tactical manned aircraft teamed with unmanned aircraft capable of operating at tactical speeds, in a hostile environment, will be an affordable, effective and valuable tool for the warfighter, addressing a critical need. UTAP-22 is a Kratos internally-funded initiative, and this successful flight achieves another important milestone in establishing Kratos in the tactical unmanned systems market, and additional flights, demonstrating simultaneous UTAP-22 operations are planned for the near future.’
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