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Sea-Air-Space 2019: Boeing announced MQ-25 tanker approchaing first flight.

| 2019

On May 06, during the US Navy League's annual Sea-Air-Space Exposition, Angie Knappenberger, deputy director of air warfare for the deputy chief of naval operations warfare systems, told industry leaders and reporters that she anticipates the first flight of the MQ-25 aerial tanker prototype could take place "in a month or so".

Sea Air Space 2019 Boeing announced MQ 25 tanker approchaing first flight An MQ-25 aerial refuelling tanker drone (Picture Source: Boeing)

The MQ-25 Stingray is intended to be an aircraft carrier-launched, unmanned tanker that can refuel the Navy's fighter jets. It will provide the needed robust refuelling capability thereby extending the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. Angie Knappenberger added that "That is extending the range of what our current [carrier] air wing is able to achieve."

“Being able to fly it out of Scott Air Force Base … is really going to accelerate the program and help us really start to develop some of the technologies that we need,” she said. “It's also going to help a lot with some of the airworthiness and some of the initial testing that is going to be happening with that platform,” she added. Although the unmanned aircraft's main focus will be on aerial refuelling, the Navy plans to add intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities into the platform, Knappenberger finally added.

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