Kratos Unmanned Systems Division is working with the United States Air Force to perfect a "swarm" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based on the company's BQM-167A aerial drone. The BQM-167A is described as a high-performance, remotely-piloted aerial target designed to mimic the capabilities of modern enemy aircraft for fighter pilots-in-training. The product is manufactured by Composite Engineering, Incorporated (since acquired by Kratos) from carbon fibers. Take-off is accomplished by rocket-assist and recovery is by parachute so the air vehicle does not require the facilities of a prepared runway (and the costs involved with it). The resulting aircraft is designated UTAP-22 ("Unmanned Tactical Aerial Platform-22").
As designed, the system is seen as a swarm UAV to be used in limited conjunction with manned aircraft, overwhelming target areas through sheer numbers while striking with precision-guided munitions (held externally and internally). The drones are high-speed, high-performance units and come at a lower per-unit cost when compared to manned strike platforms. As such, the drones can be made in greater numbers and expended during a mission if need be and there is a reduced risk to pilots engaging over contested airspaces.
The UTAP-22 was showcased in a swarm demonstration over China Lake in late-2015 as a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B "Harrier" jump jet was used in the lead. Plans are underway to feature a broader exhibition of this swarm concept.
The UTAP-22 is designed with an underslung engine installation, slightly swept-back wing mainplanes and a traditional single-finned tail unit. The fuselage is missile-like, borrowing much from the original BQM-167A in terms of its shape. The war load will reach 550lb of externally- and internally-held munitions - up to 100lb under each wing and 350lb in a bomb bay. Listed performance specs include a maximum speed of 1,125 kmh, a service ceiling of 15,250 meters, and a range out to 2,600 kilometers. The airframe measures a length of 6.13 meters and the wingspan is 3.2 meters.
May 2017 - Kratos has officially named its UTAP-22 vehicle the 'Mako'.
March 2019 - Kratos is expecting a first-flight of its Mako drone product for sometime in the second quarter of 2019.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
20.1 ft (6.13 m)
10.5 ft (3.20 m)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Kratos UTAP-22 production variant)
1 x Turbojet engine of unknown make, model, and thrust output.
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