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When These Valkyries Come, It’s Not Valhalla That Follows, But the U.S. Military
In Norse mythology, the Valkyries are a group of maidens tasked with selecting the dead warriors worthy of hitching a ride to Valhalla, the region’s ancient version of Heaven.

When These Valkyries Come, It’s Not Valhalla That Follows, But the U.S. Military

They mostly used horses for their task, but were also known to fly, and their collective name is so cool, that even today it is used. Generally, by the civilian world, which has things like that Aston Martin car that “comes as close as possible to a Formula One car without being restricted to the track.”

The companies doing military stuff use the moniker too, with the most famous example being that of the Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie drone – as a side note, Kratos was the name of the Greek God of strength, and that Famous God of War character, and that makes this particular drone triple-cool, at least in name.

But soon enough, the name will stand for even more capable tools, also to be used by the military. All thanks to a company called Valkyrie Systems Aerospace, and two hoverjet drones called Guardian and Eagle.

The company describes itself as a group created by Special Operations military leaders, and the drones as “state-of-the-art command and remote flight control systems” for manned and unmanned air, land, and sea surface missions, destined for “all military branches as well as domestic federal partners.”

The name really popped into the news back in February, when the company announced it was moving on to the next phase of the AFWERX High-Speed Vertical Take-Off and Landing (HSVTOL) Concept Challenge. With entries allowed until exactly a year ago, the competition aims to come up with drones that maximize the "trade space of speed, range, survivability, payload, size, and flexibility to carry out missions across the full spectrum of conflict and political scenarios."

In words we can all understand, that means drones capable of performing exfiltration of Special Operations Forces, personnel recovery, aeromedical evacuation, and Tactical Mobility operations.

The Valkyrie ideas check all the above boxes, as they’re not traditional drones, but can operate as aircraft, hovercraft, and amphibious vehicles, depending on needs. Most importantly, they can reach speeds of over 400 mph (644 kph).

The two solutions envisioned by Valkyrie are capable of taking off and landing vertically, on land, water, ice, and rough terrain. They can operate in almost all kinds of weather conditions, are stealth, and are packed with interchangeable interior modules so that they could carry both cargo and personnel. Additionally, sling loads could be attached to either of them.

The Guardian is described by its maker as a full-size, optionally piloted aircraft. It can be used to transport 6,000 lbs (2,722 kg) of cargo, either under the supervision of a pilot, or autonomously. The plane is to be powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney engines that should give it a speed of 450 mph (724 kph), and an autonomy of about 15 hours.

The Eagle on the other hand is a much smaller UAV, capable of carrying 600 lbs (272 kg) of cargo thanks to the two PBS powerplants it comes fitted with. This one can travel at a maximum speed of 400 mph, but that only in sprint mode. Its cruising speed is rated at just 138 mph (222 kph), and can keep flying for 7 hours.

Back in February, when Valkyrie announced it was one of the eleven companies (out of 200) to have been selected for the second phase of the AFWERX program, it also said the drones will be further developed over the next six months.

That means we’ll probably be updated on progress pretty soon, so keep an eye out to see how the next toy of the American military is shaping up to be.


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