Kratos Valkyrie Demonstrates Affordable Runway Flexibility with Recent Take-Off and Flight Operations

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SAN DIEGO, July 02, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: KTOS), a technology company in Defense, National Security and Global Markets, today announced the successful demonstration of the second of three Valkyrie launch methods: the Kratos Trolley Launch System (KTLS).

The KTLS enables the Valkyrie to take off from traditional runways or straight roads, without requiring Rocket Assist Take Off (RATO) or other acceleration producing devices. The KTLS is unpowered with take-off thrust provided solely by the aircraft jet engine. For KTLS take off, which is fully autonomous, the aircraft engine throttles up just like a conventional jet take off, and the combined system, Valkyrie and KTLS, accelerates down the runway. Ultimately, at lift-off speed, the aircraft flies up and away (separates) from the KTLS which then deploys drogue chutes and brakes to a stop on the runway while the aircraft proceeds to its flight mission. Video of the KTLS launch can be found here.
https://youtu.be/pIU5DOPiteA?si=ZeJotNNyFP84v7rp

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Kratos Valkyrie on KTLS Before Being Towed out to Runway for Takeoff
Kratos Valkyrie on KTLS Before Being Towed out to Runway for Takeoff

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/e3f69e93-03e8-44d8-840a-372470437246

For years, the Valkyrie has operated using the RATO method which enables the system to be operated from austere and unprepared locations without runways or similar traditional aircraft support elements. A primary benefit of both RATO and KTLS launch is that the aircraft payload and fuel load can be maximized and is not reduced by the weight, nor the storage volume required for conventional retractable gear. Significantly, the flyaway aircraft system cost is also not impacted by the cost of take-off / landing gear. For deployment of affordable mass, keeping cost out of the airborne systems is paramount.

The Kratos funded flight demonstration was conducted at the North Dakota GrandSky Range where Kratos can independently (from DoD ranges) operate its larger Collaborative Combat Aircraft class UAS like the Valkyrie.

Steve Fendley, President Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said, “The availability of the GrandSky Range resources and the support from Senators Hoeven and Cramer and the North Dakota community at large has been an incredible enabler for our program. As we watch peer adversaries in both their preparations and active conflicts, and at the same time see the DoD budget impacts in our own nation, we have challenged ourselves at Kratos to solve today’s defense challenges with solutions that are realizable, near term achievable, and affordable. The perfect capability solution too late is really an abject failure; and we continually use this fact as a constraint on our approaches. We remain committed to developing and producing systems that are effective in the near term and deliver substantial effect/impact/utility per cost across the life cycle.”

The development, production, and demonstration of the internally funded KTLS epitomizes clever conceptualization, rigorous digital engineering and physical engineering, integration, testing, and rapid production-representative manufacturing that enables a unique and effective system offering and was made possible by Kratos’ 30 years of engineering experience with unmanned jet aircraft autonomous runway take off.

Valkyrie on KTLS Being Towed by Small Crossover Demonstrating Affordable Approach to Support Systems and Maximum Flexibility of Operations
Valkyrie on KTLS Being Towed by Small Crossover Demonstrating Affordable Approach to Support Systems and Maximum Flexibility of Operations

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/e3f69e93-03e8-44d8-840a-372470437246

Eric DeMarco, President and CEO of Kratos, said, “The successful demonstration of our Valkyrie and KTLS system is another recent example of Kratos “listening” to the customer community and investing our own funds, enabling Kratos to rapidly develop, demonstrate and field relevant, low-cost systems. At Kratos, ‘better is the enemy of good enough, ready to go and flying today’, with our entire organization focused on delivering products, not some day hoped for, imagined images, power points or renditions, as we work with our government customer partners to rebuild the U.S. industrial base and support the warfighter.”

This Kratos-funded flight is the latest representative data point of the success of Kratos’ strategy to reinvigorate the U.S. defense industrial base with Kratos-funded, rapidly developed and fielded, relevant, low-cost systems by working closely with our government customer/partners. Beyond its low-cost, jet-powered unmanned aerial drone systems, including Valkyrie, Mako, Air Wolf, Athena, Apollo and others, Kratos continues to successfully execute this strategy with its Erinyes hypersonic test bed which recently completed a successful first flight, its next generation TurboJet and TurboFan jet engines for drones, missiles, loitering and powered munitions, as well as Kratos OpenSpace.

About Kratos Defense & Security Solutions
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTOS) is a technology, products, system and software company addressing the defense, national security, and commercial markets. Kratos makes true internally funded research, development, capital and other investments, to rapidly develop, produce and field solutions that address our customers’ mission critical needs and requirements. At Kratos, affordability is a technology, and we seek to utilize proven, leading-edge approaches and technology, not unproven bleeding edge approaches or technology, with Kratos’ approach designed to reduce cost, schedule and risk, enabling us to be first to market with cost effective solutions. We believe that Kratos is known as an innovative disruptive change agent in the industry, a company that is an expert in designing products and systems up front for successful rapid, large quantity, low-cost future manufacturing which is a value-add competitive differentiator for our large traditional prime system integrator partners and also to our government and commercial customers. Kratos intends to pursue program and contract opportunities as the prime or lead contractor when we believe that our probability of win (PWin) is high and any investment required by Kratos is within our capital resource comfort level. We intend to partner and team with a large, traditional system integrator when our assessment of PWin is greater or required investment is beyond Kratos’ comfort level. Kratos’ primary business areas include virtualized ground systems for satellites and space vehicles including software for command & control (C2) and telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C), jet powered unmanned aerial drone systems, hypersonic vehicles and rocket systems, propulsion systems for drones, missiles, loitering munitions, supersonic systems, space craft and launch systems, C5ISR and microwave electronic products for missile, radar, missile defense, space, satellite, counter UAS, directed energy, communication and other systems, and virtual & augmented reality training systems for the warfighter. For more information, visit www.KratosDefense.com.

Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Kratos and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Kratos undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Although Kratos believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve many risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from what may be expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. For a further discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Kratos in general, see the risk disclosures in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Kratos for the year ended December 31, 2023, and in subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by Kratos.

Press Contact:
Claire Burghoff
[email protected]

Investor Information:
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