Boeing has announced that it has unveiled its design for the U.S. Navy’s competition to develop an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for refuelling U.S. Navy jets operating from aircraft carriers.
Through its MQ-25 Stingray competition, the Navy is seeking unmanned refuelling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. The MQ-25 will also have to seamlessly integrate with a carrier’s catapult and launch and recovery systems.
“Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years,” Don Gaddis, the head of the refuelling system program at Boeing’s Phantom Works, said in a press release. “Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded.”
Boeing says the drone is functional, though it hasn’t flown. It will finish engine test runs on the ground ahead of deck handling demonstrations in early 2018. The Navy wants all of the competitors to submit their formal MQ-25 proposals by Jan. 3, 2018.
Revealed and ready! #BoeingMQ25 #UAS future @USNavy tanker will extend the range of combat aircraft from the flight deck to the fight!
RELEASE: https://t.co/tkDt0R84zB #MQ25 #PhantomWorks pic.twitter.com/gSgS8xmIRR
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) December 19, 2017
Sources: Unmanned Systems Technology, The Drive