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China Finds ‘Weakness’ in New US Combat Drone

Chinese aviation engineers have reportedly found a flaw in the United States’ new Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie combat drone, asserting that the experimental system may not be effective in combat.

Citing Chinese publication Aircraft Design, South China Morning Post reported that engineer analysis of the Valkyrie design and implied functions shows it sacrifices maneuverability for firepower and fuel efficiency.

Engineers based the analysis on publicly available photos of the drone analyzed through reverse engineering technology.

One of the major flaws they pointed out was that the combat drone can only withstand a pull of 1.7 times the force of gravity. Usually, a combat aircraft should withstand a braking force of at least seven times the force of gravity or even higher.

Although they cited a weakness in the Valkyrie, the analysts admitted that several aspects may give it an advantage.

The US Air Force and drone manufacturer Kratos have yet to comment on the analysis.

The XQ-58A Valkyrie

The Valkyrie combat drone is an experimental stealth drone that is the result of a collaboration between defense company Kratos and the US Air Force Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator program.

The first Valkyrie completed its maiden test flight in March, undergoing a total of seven test flights. According to data released by the air force, the recorded top speed of the Valkyrie is Mach 0.95 (728.6 mph).

China is also developing high-speed drones that it claims can attain speeds of up to Mach 5 (3,836.3 mph).

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