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New US Navy airwing elements take shape on carrier Bush

The USN completed an Unmanned Carrier Aviation Demonstration of its MQ-25 Stingray unmanned air system prototype in December aboard aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush . (US Navy)

Two lynchpin aircraft of the future air wing of the US Navy (USN) achieved recent milestones during at-sea operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77) while the ship is under way in the Atlantic Ocean, USN officials reported.

The USN completed an Unmanned Carrier Aviation Demonstration of its MQ-25 Stingray unmanned air system prototype in December aboard Bush , laying the groundwork for future carrier-based unmanned aerial system operations, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) officials confirmed on 20 December.

Earlier, Bush launched and recovered an F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for the first time on 12 December, during carrier qualifications for the pilots of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, carrier officials confirmed on 16 December.

The milestone appears to mark the first time that MQ-25 and F-35C aircraft were operated on the same carrier during the same under way period, USN officials confirmed.

For the Stingray, the government team, along with industry partners Boeing and Lockheed Martin, conducted a demonstration aboard the carrier with both ground control system and aircraft to evaluate the MQ-25 system's integration into the carrier environment, NAVAIR officials said.

“There is no better way to determine the success of a carrier aircraft design and its integration into the air wing than to put that new aircraft through testing at sea,” Captain Chad Reed, Unmanned Carrier Aviation programme manager, said in a statement.

Before Bush

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