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US Navy’s Boeing MQ-25 Completes Mid-Air Refueling of F-35

The US Navy and Boeing have refueled an F-35C Lightning II fighter jet in-flight with an MQ-25TM T1 drone for the first time, Boeing announced in a press release on Tuesday.

Boeing’s MQ-25 program director Dave Bujold called the flight “yet another physical demonstration of the maturity and stability of the MQ-25 aircraft design.”

As a result of the recent successful test, Bujold added: “We are confident the MQ-25 aircraft we are building right now will meet the Navy’s primary requirement – delivering fuel safely to the carrier air wing.”

Navy Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager Capt. Chad Reed said that every successful test flight is a step closer “to rapidly delivering a fully mission-capable MQ-25 to the fleet.”

Reed added that once fully capable, the MQ-25 will help “increase the Navy’s power projection and provide operational flexibility to the Carrier Strike Group commanders.”

The MQ-25 Series

The flight test program for the MQ-25 T1 drone was launched in September 2019, marking the aircraft’s maiden flight.

In December 2020, a test flight was conducted at the Illinois MidAmerica Airport followed by the successful refueling of an F/A-18 Super Hornet in June and an E-2D Hawkeye in August.

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