Boeing showed for the first time an unmanned refueling aircraft designed to fuel aircraft operating from U.S. Navy carriers.
Revealed and ready! #BoeingMQ25 #UAS future @USNavy tanker will extend the range of combat aircraft from the flight deck to the fight!
RELEASE: https://t.co/tkDt0R84zB #MQ25 #PhantomWorks pic.twitter.com/gSgS8xmIRR
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) December 19, 2017
The Navy is holding a competition dubbed MQ-25 to find an unmanned refueling aircraft to extend the range of its Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters.
“Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years,” said Don ‘BD’ Gaddis, a retired admiral who leads the refueling system program for Boeing’s Phantom Works technology organization. “Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded.”
Boeing says the drone is functional, though it hasn’t flown. It will finish engine test runs on the ground ahead of deck handling demonstrations in early 2018. The Navy wants all of the competitors to submit their formal MQ-25 proposals by Jan. 3, 2018.
The unveiling came after the aircraft manufacturer teased the event in a tweet.
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— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) December 14, 2017