The U.S. Navy and Boeing are in the process of completing ground tests of the MQ-25 Stingray test asset in preparation for a carrier demonstration. The tests are being conducted at Chambers Field onboard Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.
During the tests, the MQ-25 Stingray, an uncrewed aerial refueling drone, introduced unmanned aerial refueling and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to the air wing. The capabilities will extend the range, operational capacity, and lethality of the Carrier Air Wing and Carrier Strike Group (CSG).
“The Stingray is the future of naval aviation and the true revolutionary step of the Air Wing of the Future. MQ-25 represents the first aircraft carrier-based unmanned air vehicle (UAV),” said Rear Adm. John Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic. “The ground testing is another step toward the teaming of manned and unmanned aircraft platforms. Integrating platforms like the MQ-25 into the air wing will increase their lethality and reach.”
According to the U.S. Navy, the MQ-25 is the first move toward the Navy’s strategic vision of unified, interoperable networks and systems architecture. It is paving the way for future unmanned systems to be introduced to the air wing and aircraft carrier environment.
Chief Aviation Machinist Mate Michael Solle said the UAS capabilities of the MQ-25 will enable the F/A-18 to return to its primary mission set and enhance its strike range while improving maneuverability.
The Boeing-owned MQ-25 recently completed its first aerial refueling of an F-35C Lightning II aircraft, marking the third refueling flight evolution for the test aircraft as a whole. Once operational, MQ-25 will refuel every receiver-capable carrier-based aircraft.