Boeing MQ-25 Stingray

1st Flight 2019

The Boeing MQ-25 Stingray is an aerial refuelling drone that resulted from the Carrier-Based Aerial-Refuelling System (CBARS) program, which grew out of the earlier Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program.

The MQ-25 first flew on 19 September 2019.

In late April 2019, the first MQ-25 test aircraft (T-1 or “Tail 1”) was taken by road from Boeing’s technical plant at St. Louis’s Lambert International Airport across the Mississippi River to Mid America St. Louis Airport, which is conjoined to Scott Air Force Base.

Following taxi tests, the Federal Aviation Administration certified the aircraft and granted airspace for flight testing.

On 4 June 2021, the first refuelling test was conducted, with the MQ-25 providing fuel to a F/A-18F Super Hornet.

The MQ-25 originated at Mid America Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, with support by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-23.

The mission lasted about 4.5 hours with the two aircraft performing numerous dry or wet connects for more than 10 minutes and 325 pounds of fuel transferred in total.

Further refuelling tests were performed with E-2 and F-35C.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army views MQ-25 as increasing the resiliency of the US aircraft carriers.

Specifications

Length

51.0 ft (15.5 m)

Wingspan

75.0 ft (22.9 m) wings extended, 31.3 ft (9.54 m) folded

Height

9.8 ft (3.0 m) wings extended, 15.7 ft (4.79 m) folded

Powerplant

1 × Rolls-Royce AE 3007N turbofan, >10,000 lbf (>44 kN) thrust

Performance

Range

500 nmi (580 mi, 930 km) when delivering ≥16,000 lb (7,250 kg) of fuel

Armament

Hard points

2 × under wing stations

Others

Cobham Aerial Refuelling Store (ARS).

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