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USAF’s Jet-Launched LongShot Drone Gears Up for First Flight Test

General Atomics’ LongShot drone is gearing up for its first flight tests scheduled in December this year, according to a report by Breaking Defense.

The tests will reportedly validate the unmanned vehicle’s basic handling characteristics and lay the foundation for follow-on development and testing, company official Mark Brinkley said.

The LongShot unmanned system is capable of being launched from a bomber or fighter jet.

It can reportedly launch an AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), giving military warplanes new flexibility to engage aerial threats from longer distances.

The LongShot Program

Launched by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for the US Air Force, the LongShot program aims to develop an unmanned air-launched vehicle that can employ current air-to-air weapons.

It is envisioned to significantly increase engagement range and mission effectiveness of military warplanes.

In 2021, General Atomics was picked alongside Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to begin the preliminary design of the LongShot drone.

However, only the California-based firm received contracts for the second and third phases.

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