The U.S. Navy is looking for an aircraft to refuel its aircraft-carrier-based fighters. Boeing said it believes it can develop the perfect unmanned aircraft system for the job.
Boeing photo by Eric Shindelbower
“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.”
The Navy is seeking unmanned refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters, Boeing said. The MQ-25 would also have to integrate with a carrier’s catapult and launch and recovery systems.
Proposals for the Navy’s MQ-25 competition are due Jan. 3. Boeing said its drone is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations early next year.