The U.S. largest defense-and-aerospace company Boeing posted a video of the second flight of its new unmanned refueling aircraft to its Twitter page on Monday.
“MQ-25 took to the skies again last week, this time with landing gear up!,” Boeing said on Twitter, pointing that the company “continuing a rigorous flight test program for the U.S. Navy unmanned aerial refueler.”
The Boeing-owned test asset is a predecessor to the engineering development model (EDM) aircraft and is being used for early learning and discovery to meet the goals of the U.S. Navy’s accelerated acquisition program. Boeing will produce four EDM MQ-25 air vehicles for the U.S. Navy.
T1 received its experimental airworthiness certificate from the FAA in September, verifying that the air vehicle meets the agency’s requirements for safe flight.
The new Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray, or drone tanker, is designed to launch from an aircraft carrier at sea and aerial refuel Navy fighter jets such as the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. Integration of the Stingray into the Carrier Air Wing (CVW) will increase the number of F/A-18s and F-35Cs available for strike fighter missions and extend the range of the CVW, improving its performance, efficiency and safety.
The Navy’s goal for the aircraft is to be able to deliver 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) of fuel total to 4 to 6 airplanes at a range of 500 nmi (580 mi; 930 km).
The company’s website said the MQ-25 brings the right combination of refueling, autonomy, and seamless carrier deck integration to deliver a solution that meets the U.S. Navy’s goals: put a low-cost unmanned aerial refueling aircraft on the flight deck as soon as possible.
The Navy awarded Boeing an $805.3 million Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract for the MQ-25 Aug. 30, 2018.
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) October 7, 2019
*video on embedded Tweet