The US Navy’s MQ-25A Stingray refuels a F/A-18 Super Hornet

The US Naval Air Systems Command and Boeing announced on Monday that their T-1 prototype of the US Navy’s MQ-25A Stingray successfully completed the service’s first mid-air refueling of a fighter jet.  The first-of-its-kind test took place at the MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, on 4 June.

In a video released by Boeing, the Stingray is seen extending its hose and drogue to deliver fuel to a F/A-18 Super Hornet. The maneuver required as little as 20 feet (6.1 meters) of separation between the drone and the Super Hornet’s refueling probe.

MQ-25A Stingray refuels F-18 Super hornet.jpg
MQ-25A Stingray refuels F-18 Super Hornet

Back in 2018, the US Navy had awarded Boeing an $805 million contract to design, develop, test and deliver four MQ-25A Stingray drones. At the time, the US Navy estimated that the carrier-based, unmanned aerial vehicles would achieve initial operational capability

“This history-making event is a credit to our joint Boeing and Navy team that is all-in on delivering MQ-25’s critical aerial refueling capability to the fleet as soon as possible,” Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said in a quoted statement.

The US Navy is set to procure 72 MQ-25As for approximately $1.3 billion.

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