South Front: On June 4, Boeing-owned MQ-25™ T1 test asset refueled another aircraft. During the test flight, the MQ-25 Stingray proved its ability to carry out its primary aerial refueling mission and successfully transferred jet fuel to a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet.
The MQ-25 Stingray unmanned vehicle is designed for air refueling of carrier-based fighter-bombers F / A-18 Super Hornet and based on it EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft manufactured by Boeing, as well as fifth-generation F-35 fighters of the rival company Lockheed Martin, according to PRNews.
“Their (US Navy & Boeing) work is the driving force behind the safe and secure integration of unmanned systems in the immediate future of defense operations,” said Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
MQ-25 T1 will continue flight testing prior to being shipped to Norfolk, Virginia, for deck handling trials aboard a U.S. Navy carrier later this year.
In October 1st, 2020, the US Navy’s first ever squadron to operate its future MQ-25 Stingray carrier-based unmanned tankers from Boeing was established. the unit is located at Naval Base Ventura Country in California, which includes Naval Air Station Point Mugu.
The US Navy has, in the past, said that the first two warships that will receive the MQ-25 Stingray drones are the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers – USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS George H.W. Bush.
The Navy has said that it expects to buy at least 72 Stingrays, for a total cost of around $13 billion, and that it hopes to reach initial operational capability with the type in 2024.