Watch Boeing's Drone Tanker Refuel US Navy F-35C For the First Time
After its third mid-air refueling test with Boeing and the US Navy, the MQ-25 program is closer to deployment than ever before.
Science & Tech
The U.S. Navy and Boeing recently completed the mid-air refueling of an F-35C Lightning II fighter jet using the latter's MQ-25 Stingray, unmanned tanker, according to a press release.
The MQ-25 program has been in the works for a few years now. Initiated in 2018, the unmanned aircraft first took flight in September of 2019 and has since clocked more than 120 flight hours to gather data about its flight performance. But it was only in June that Boeing attempted its first refueling.
The unmanned test asset called T1, refueled a manned F/A-18 Superhornet, making it the world's first mid-air maneuver of this kind. During the attempt, the F/A-18 was as close as 20 feet (6.1 m) away from the drone. Later in August, the drone was used to refuel the E-2D Hawkeye, the press release said.
Making it three in a row, was the latest attempt to refuel the single-engine stealth aircraft, the F-35C Lightning II on September 13.