The US Navy’s Boeing MQ-25TM T1 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) refueled a Navy E-2D Hawkeye command and control aircraft in a test flight from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport last week, Boeing announced.
During the flight, pilots from the Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-20 did a wake survey behind the MQ-25 to check its stability before making contact with the other aircraft. The E-2D then received fuel from the MQ-25.
The E-2D is the second carrier-based aircraft that the UAS refueled. In June, the UAS refueled a US Navy Super Hornet in flight.
Naval Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager Captain Chad Reed said that once it becomes fully operational, the MQ-25 will refuel every receiver-capable platform, like the E-2 system.
“This flight keeps us on a fast track to getting the Stingray out to the fleet, where its refueling capability will greatly increase the range and operational flexibility of the carrier air wing and strike group,” Reed added.
Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 program director, called the flight yet another demonstration that the design of the MQ-25 is “performing to plan.”
“These historic refueling flights provide an incredible amount of data we feed back into the MQ-25 digital models to ensure the aircraft we’re producing will be the Navy’s game-changer for the carrier air wing,” he further added.
The MQ-25 AS Series
The Boeing MQ-25 UAS series is an unmanned aircraft system designed for the US Navy. It is in the final testing and initial production stage. It is expected to “provide the needed robust refueling capability” and extend the combat range of the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters.