MQ-25 Completes Second Unmanned Refueling Mission


The U.S. Navy and Boeing successfully refueled a Navy E-2D Hawkeye command and control aircraft using an MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aircraft system (UAS/drone) on Wednesday. The mission was the second carrier-based aircraft unmanned refueling mission to be completed using the Boeing-owned MQ-25TM T1 test asset following the successful refueling of a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet by the UAS tanker last June. The MQ-25 is the first drone to refuel another aircraft in flight.

“It was another great flight showing that our MQ-25 design is performing to plan,” said Dave Bujold, Boeing MQ-25 program director. “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.”

Wednesday’s test flight was conducted from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. According to Boeing, the refueling operation was conducted at “operationally relevant” speeds and altitudes. The company reports that it is currently manufacturing the first two of seven MQ-25 test aircraft for the Navy.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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    • Is the MQ-25 a drone or a remotely-piloted vehicle? The latter still requires pilots (operators) on the ground.

      Wonder what the staffing difference is between a conventional tanker and a UAV tanker. That would be a good article Paul.

      • Requires is doing a lot of work there. Likely it needs a remote command to get home since home might have moved.