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In Video: First Ever Air-To-Air Refueling With MQ-25 Drone

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The U.S. Navy released a video showing an unmanned aircraft used in air-to-air refueling for the first time in history.

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.

In Video: First Ever Air-To-Air Refueling With MQ-25 Drone

Click to see full-size image

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.


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more overpriced toys to refuel the military industrial complex, only a debil like me would think that this makes any difference


Yeah amazing, a drone refueling 30 years old jet… just another overpriced worthless garbage.


$13 billion? For tanker drones???

Peter Wallace

It is the US version of socialism. They take money off everyone and then give it to a few selected people that work supplying military equipment at highly inflated prices to pay for all the kickbacks to those in on the scam.


That ought to put 2-3 guys out of work … $13B eh …. how much does a navy pilot make? Couple of hundred million a year?

Last edited 1 year ago by HB_norica
Donald Moore

OK, 13 Billion for 72 drone tankers, means over 180 million a piece. They are small so I guess they will be able to fuel one aircraft each. The FA-18 Hornet cost about 67 million each and it looks like it can fuel two other aircraft. A drone loaded with fuel is way heavier then a spy drone so decreased range. So the drones saves the use of a pilot, cost almost three times as much, carries half the load for maybe the same range?

Rocky Fjord

Too late for war against goat herders, now lost same as Vietnam, Iraq to follow, Libya was destroyed, no victory consolidated there. Drone tanker just more junk to suck billions out of taxpayers, while the unipolar hegemon is dying internally.

Bolshevik Khazarian Criminal Mafia (Communist) 👹

Tell me, The cost of one? (remember all US’s projects start costing like few millions and end up billions like USS Zumwalt) How long it can fly? If Iran can hack other the US’s drones – Russia and China much ahead. (Funny thing, I was talking about drones with some other people and now the US put a system in their new drones, so if “someone” hacks their drones – the drone cut all orders and return to base where the drone took off). Now saying that image this refueling drone gets hacked and just returns. 😂

Last edited 1 year ago by Bolshevik Khazarian Criminal Mafia (Communist) 👹
The Objective

I think Turkey should start working on similar concepts as drones refueling drones. This extends operational range and allows for highly risky missions that would have been unfathomable with manned aircraft.


This does not make missions less risky, any refueling happens beyond radar shadow anyway. Anything else places tankers AND aircraft they’re refueling in harm’s way.

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