XQ-58As are stealthy, subsonic Unmanned Combat Aerial Aehicles (UCAVs) whose development was driven and supported by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). These UCAVs are capable of acting as unmanned wingmen for F-22/F-35 fighters to help them perform coordinated tasks such as target guidance, forward reconnaissance, jamming and decoying, and weapons delivery. This can enhance the combat capabilities of F-22/F-35 fighters by improving their information superiority. The advent of XQ-58As may potentially give rise to a diverse variety of combat styles, and it is expected to have an enormous impact on modern air combat and the Penetrating Counter Air (PCA) concept. In this work, the XQ-58A is first compared to the prototype “unmanned wingman” developed by Boeing. The reasons that led to the rapid development of the XQ-58A are then analyzed. Subsequently, the potential application modes of the XQ-58A and its impact on air defense systems are described in terms of offense and defense. Finally, this UCAV is compared to the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) program to summarize how the air combat doctrine of the US Military has changed recently, considering that the US Air Force is currently using its mastery of advanced technologies to enhance its capabilities of handling complex threat environments economically. The analysis presented herein contributes toward a comprehensive understanding of the XQ-58A project.
贾高伟,郭 正.美军XQ-58A项目与应用模式分析[J].国防科技,2021,42(1):1-6；JIA Gaowei, GUO Zheng. Analysis of the XQ-58A project of the US military and its modes of application[J]. National Defense Technology,2021,42(1):1-6复制