Boeing and the US Navy conducted ground testing of the MQ-25 Stingray tanker drone at Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field in Virginia, United States.
After completing several refueling trials this year, which includes an F-35C Lightning II fighter and an E-2D Hawkeye command and control aircraft, the MQ-25 T1 test asset developed by Boeing will be moving on to the evaluation of its deck handling capability.
The behavior of the drone was tested with lines painted on the runway of Chambers Field to simulate a carrier deck environment.
“The Stingray is the future of naval aviation. It is the first aircraft carrier-based unmanned air vehicle (UAV),” said Rear Admiral John Meier, Commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic. “The ground testing is another step toward the teaming of manned and unmanned aircraft platforms. Integrating platforms like the MQ-25 into the air wing will increase their lethality and reach.”
A live test onboard a US Navy aircraft carrier is scheduled for December 2012.
Birthed from the remains of the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program, which was canceled due to budget constraints, the Carrier-Based Aerial-Refueling System (CBAR) aims to offer an innovative solution to tanking missions.
The drone will replace the F/A-18 fighters that are currently assigned to this role, with 20% to 30% of their flight time currently dedicated to refueling missions. The MQ-25 will allow the US Navy to preserve the service life of the Super Hornets.