It carries the unsettling name Thanatos, which is the personification of death, and it is the stealthy combat drone project by the American company Kratos Defense & Security Solutions. The defense industry has just revealed the first graphic representation of the aircraft, about which little is known regarding its technical specifications except for its stealth capabilities. It features a shovel-like nose, the absence of a tail and a tail fin, all of which contribute to reducing the aircraft’s radar signature.
Two air intakes integrated into the fuselage can be observed to power the propulsion system, although it’s challenging to ascertain if the drone has two engines. Its wings have a diamond shape, an architecture designed to minimize drag at subsonic and supersonic speeds. In other words, the unmanned aircraft will be designed for high-speed operation while maintaining stealth.
A Collaborative Stealth Drone Project
While Kratos has not disclosed its client at this time, the presence of US Air Force markings is a strong indication, even though no contract has been signed as of now. Nonetheless, the aircraft aligns perfectly with the US Air Force’s Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program. This suggests that it would be designed for collaborative combat with other drones and combat aircraft.
In addition to arming drones, the program also includes electronic warfare capabilities. Thus, we might see this Thanatos drone serving as a wingman for the F-35 or the upcoming B-21, whose prototype is gradually being revealed. Given the CCA’s requirements, one can anticipate a drone with substantial autonomy. Kratos is not the only provider of drones in this category, but its position with Thanatos demonstrates the company’s confidence in securing a contract with the US Air Force.
Kratos already has an advantage with its XQ-58A Valkyrie, which is still undergoing testing with the US Air Force. Like the Valkyrie, Thanatos will be highly technologically advanced. However, Kratos’ aircraft tend to be more expensive than what the competition offers.