General Atomics has unveiled its new XQ-67A advanced sensing drone that was secretly being developed for the US Air Force.
The experimental uncrewed jet — which boasts a sleek, stealthy design — is part of the service’s Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) program.
It is equipped with a sophisticated sensor suite, allowing it to fly ahead of manned fighter jets to relay valuable information about enemy locations and movements.
The company recently shared photos and videos of the highly classified drone undergoing what appears to be high-speed taxi testing on a desert runway.
— GA-ASI (@GenAtomics_ASI) February 8, 2024
It remains unclear if the XQ-67A has already taken its maiden flight since the uploaded video was purposely cut to provide limited details.
However, the US Air Force had previously said it planned to flight-test its new sensing drone “in the first half of 2024.”
The XQ-67A is a long-range, high-endurance drone based on the company’s Gambit family of unmanned aircraft.
It has a delta-wing design, a single engine, and internal weapons bays.
Its sensor suite consists of cutting-edge electro-optical/infrared radars and signals intelligence systems.
Unlike other drones, the XQ-67A will be remotely piloted rather than fully autonomous.
The videos uploaded by General Atomics show the drone has a pair of air data probes fitted to its nose and some highly visible orange markings on the wings and tail, suggesting that the aircraft is preparing for flight tests.
“We think you’re looking at the future of unmanned combat air vehicles,” General Atomics senior director Mark Brinkley told Breaking Defense.
“I can say that we are stepping through [the OBSS] program methodically and working closely with our government partners to hit all of the markers for the project and deliver on our promises.”