Defence

US Navy’s gamechanger: MQ-25 Stingray unmanned ‘drone’ aircraft refuels Super Hornet jet

By WION

On June 4, the US Navy and Boeing created aviation history as MQ-25 T1 successfully extended the hose and drogue from its US Navy-issued aerial refuelling store (ARS) and safely transferred jet fuel to a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing said.

The MQ-25 Stingray’s displayed its ability to carry out its primary aerial refuelling mission – a gamechanger in a combat situation when there is a need for an aircraft to stay in the air as long as possible.

As defence forces around the world use drones to perform several tasks, this new innovation in the form of MQ-25 Stingray is set to create a new dynamic Air Force with giant refuel planes no longer needed in long haul mission overground.

Close formation flight
During the initial part of the flight, the F/A-18 test pilot flew in close formation behind MQ-25 to ensure performance and stability prior to refuelling – a manoeuvre that required as little as 20 feet of separation between the MQ-25 T1 air vehicle and the F/A-18 refueling probe.

Both aircraft flew at operationally relevant speeds and altitudes with the evaluation safely completed, the MQ-25 drogue was extended, and the F/A-18 pilot moved in to “plug” with the unmanned aircraft and receive the scheduled fuel offload.On June 4, the US Navy and Boeing created aviation history as MQ-25 T1 successfully extended the hose and drogue from its US Navy-issued aerial refuelling store (ARS) and safely transferred jet fuel to a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing said.

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