US Navy plans Stingray carrier deck tests in 2021 following milestone fuel transfer

by Pat Host

The US Navy (USN) plans to perform deck handling demonstrations of a Boeing MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) onboard an aircraft carrier later this year after transferring fuel to a receiver aircraft for the first time on 4 June.

The Boeing-owned MQ-25A T1 test asset passing fuel to a Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet is considered the first aerial refuelling operation between a manned receiver aircraft and an unmanned tanker, according to a USN statement. The flight demonstrated that the MQ-25A can fulfil its tanker mission using the service's probe and drogue aerial refuelling method.

The Boeing MQ-25A Stingray UAV passed fuel to a receiver aircraft (in this case, a Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet) for the first time on 4 June 2021. (Boeing)

The Boeing MQ-25A Stingray UAV passed fuel to a receiver aircraft (in this case, a Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet) for the first time on 4 June 2021. (Boeing)

Dave Bujold, Boeing MQ-25A programme director, told reporters on 7 June that the Stingray T1 test asset flew for 4.5 hours on 4 June. Of the 500lb of fuel available in the MQ-25A T1 test asset, 325 lb was transferred, which Bujold said was according to plan. The 325 lb of fuel transferred also tested the low fuel indicator on the Stingray's pod.

The refuelling test started with the MQ-25A T1 test asset taking off, followed by a F/A-18 from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23), which was flown by two operational USN test pilots. Their objective for the mission, Bujold said, was to evaluate how stable the Super Hornet would be flying near the UAV and to view the stability of the air refuelling store and the basket.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/us-navy-plans-stingray-carrier-deck-tests-in-2021-following-milestone-fuel-transfer

The US Navy (USN) plans to perform deck handling demonstrations of a Boeing MQ-25A Stingray unmanned...

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