The design has been within the works at the least since 2019 and Kratos is already in discussions with a buyer for a attainable contract subsequent 12 months.
Few days in the past, Kratos unveiled for the primary time a rendering of its new Thanatos UAV design. The picture was a part of the press release for the corporate’s third quarter 2023 monetary outcomes, nevertheless no different particulars have been supplied about this new design. Eric DeMarco, Kratos’ President and CEO, solely briefly talked about Thanatos whereas describing plans for subsequent 12 months.
“Based mostly on current giant new program alternatives we’re pursuing, we at the moment are planning on sure further investments in 2024, together with within the tactical drone and satellite tv for pc areas, to be able to place the Firm for doubtlessly even higher development in 2025 and past,” mentioned DeMarco. “Among the many new alternatives we’re pursuing, we’re in discussions with a buyer and hope to be beneath contract subsequent 12 months associated to sure different Kratos tactical drone methods, together with Thanatos”.
Whereas not confirmed, the shopper might probably be the U.S. Air Drive, because the rendering exhibits each the Air Drive and Kratos markings on the unmanned plane, equally to different design that have been pitched by Kratos to the Air Drive previously. This might specifically make sense if Thanatos is being pitched for the unmanned Collaborative Fight Plane (CCA), which is anticipated to place 1,000 autonomous drones to cooperate with 200 NGAD 6th gen fighters.
The design within the rendering is a single-engine tailless plane with diamond wing, which advantages from lowered drag within the supersonic and excessive subsonic velocity vary. The plane is packed with low-observability features, such air inlets blended within the higher aspect of the fuselage, a “shovel” nostril design and a recessed engine exhaust to scale back the infrared signature.
The nostril design is much like the one of many proposed Demogorgon UAV which Kratos pitched final 12 months for one more Air Drive program. Contemplating that the primary point out of Thanatos was in a 2019 briefing to buyers, it’s sure that Kratos is utilizing the expertise accrued with all its drone applications, together with Demogorgon, the UTAP-22 Mako and the XQ-58 Valkyrie, the tip of the spear among the many UAVs provided by the corporate.
The Valkyrie, initially designed and constructed for the Air Drive Low-Price Attritable Strike Demonstrator program, is currently being flown by Air Force and Marines and extensively examined with a deal with creating Autonomous Collaborative Platforms (ACP), such because the Collaborative Fight Plane, that may be capable of function in shut cooperation with manned fight jets.