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GA-ASI Makes First Flight of XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS)

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GA-ASI Makes First Flight of XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS)

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GA-ASI Makes First Flight of XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS)
GA-ASI Makes First Flight of XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) flew the XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) for the first time on Feb. 28, 2024. OBSS is an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) program and GA-ASI was selected in 2021 to design, build and fly the new aircraft. With flight of the AFRL-funded XQ-67A, GA-ASI has validated the “genus/species” concept first developed with AFRL as part of the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Platform Sharing (LCAAPS) program focused on building several aircraft variants from a common core chassis. Under LCAAPS, AFRL and GA-ASI explored development of a chassis, termed a “genus”, as the foundational core architecture from which several “species” of aircraft can be built.

“OBSS is the first aircraft type built and flown using a common core chassis developed by GA-ASI that promotes commonality across multiple vehicle types,” said GA-ASI Vice President of Advanced Programs Michael Atwood.

“This provides an alternative acquisition approach for military aircraft that enables faster development, lower costs and more opportunities for frequent technology refresh,” said Trenton White, OBSS Program Manager and aerospace engineer in AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate. “XQ-67A is the first “species” to be designed and built from this shared platform. Flight demonstration of this system is a major first step toward showing the ability to produce affordable combat mass.”

GA-ASI XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS)
GA-ASI XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS). (Photo by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.)

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is a scientific research and development detachment of the United States Air Force Materiel Command dedicated to leading the discovery, development, and integration of direct-energy based aerospace warfighting technologies, planning and executing the Air Force science and technology program, and providing warfighting capabilities to United States air, space, and cyberspace forces. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 12,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPA systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than eight million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent situational awareness. The company also produces a variety of sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas. General Atomics is an American energy and defense corporation headquartered in San Diego, California that specializes in research and technology development. This includes physics research in support of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion energy.

GA-ASI Makes First Flight of XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS)
GA-ASI XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS). (Photo by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.)

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