San Diego's General Atomics, Kratos Defense make cut for Air Force's Skyborg drone program

published 28.07.2020 14:30

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“U.S. Air Force inventory needs are significant for tactical drones over the next 10 years,” said Peter Arment, an analyst with Baird Equity Research.

“Because autonomous systems can support missions that are too strenuous or dangerous for manned crews, Skyborg can increase capability significantly and be a force multiplier for the Air Force,” said Brigadier Gen. Dale White, program executive officer, in a statement.

The Air Force announced Thursday that General Atomics and Kratos Defense will join Boeing and Northrop Grumman in competing to build prototype robotic aircraft ranging from jet-powered “loyal wingman” drones to intelligence/surveillance planes for tactical missions.

Two San Diego defense contractors have made the cut for the U.S. Air Force’s $400 million Skyborg Vanguard program, which aims to integrate a family of combat drones alongside manned fighter jets on critical missions.

Analysts think Kratos is in a good spot to win orders in the Skyborg program with its Valkyrie jet-powered drone, in part, because of the Air Force’s focus on low cost and development speed.

by Mike Freeman from sandiegouniontribune.com

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