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Boeing releases air-to-air footage showing first flight of unmanned refueling aircraft – Defence Blog

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The U.S. aerospace giant Boeing has released air-to-air footage from yesterday’s successful first test flight for the new the U.S. Navy’s unmanned aerial refueler.

The first operational carrier-based unmanned refueling aircraft, called the MQ-25 Stingray, successfully completed the first test flight on Sept. 19 at MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois.

The Boeing-owned MQ-25 test asset, known as T1, completed an FAA-certified autonomous taxi and take-off and flew a pre-determined route for a two-hour flight to validate the aircraft’s basic flight functions and operations.

Testing will continue with T1 over the next several years to further the early learning and discovery that advances major systems and software development in support of the program’s 2024 initial operational capability target. The company will deliver the Engineering Development Model aircraft beginning in fiscal 2021.

The MQ-25A Stingray will be the world’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft, designed to provide an aerial refueling capability. Integration of the Stingray into the Carrier Air Wing (CVW) will increase the number of F/A-18E/Fs available for strike fighter missions and extend the range of the CVW, improving its performance, efficiency and safety.

MQ-25 is a Navy Maritime Accelerated Acquisition program, aiming to deliver mission-critical capabilities to the fleet as rapidly as possible to meet warfighter needs. The Navy awarded Boeing an $805.3 million Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract for the MQ-25 Aug. 30, 2018.

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