Boeing MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler completes first test flight

©Boeing MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler

Boeing and the U.S. Navy have successfully completed the first test flight of the MQ-25™ unmanned aerial refueler.

The MQ-25 test asset, known as T1, completed the autonomous two-hour flight under the direction of Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Ill., where the test program is based. The aircraft completed an autonomous taxi and takeoff and then flew a pre-determined route to validate the aircraft’s basic flight functions and operations with the ground control station.

The Boeing-owned test asset is a predecessor to the engineering development model (EDM) aircraft and is being used for early learning and discovery to meet the goals of the U.S. Navy’s accelerated acquisition program. Boeing will produce four EDM MQ-25 air vehicles for the U.S. Navy under an US$805 million contract awarded in August 2018.

The MQ-25 will provide the Navy with a much-needed carrier-based unmanned aerial refueling capability. It will allow for better use of combat strike fighters currently performing the tanking role and will extend the range of the carrier air wing.

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