MQ-25A tanker drone will be able to deliver 6,8 tons of fuel to fighters


The Pentagon reports that on April 2, the US Navy Aviation Systems Command entered into a new contract with Boeing, which is in addition to the existing agreement. The contract worth 84 thousand dollars provides for part of the work on the project for the production of unmanned aerial vehicles MQ-681A Stingray.


For fiscal year 2020, $ 25 million was allocated for development work on the MQ-63,5A, which could “burn out” at the end of the period. The new contract provides for some new work to accelerate the project as a whole. Two dozen Boeing branches from different states and cities will be involved in the work under the agreement. Technical details of the order are not given.

The implementation of the current contracts for the UAV MQ-25A should be completed by August 2024. They provide for the supply of three vehicles with the functions of air tankers. By the indicated date should be tested and bring the UAV to operation.

USNI News recalls the progress of the project, its goals and objectives. Over the past ten years, the U.S. Navy continues to work on creating a new unmanned tanker for use in carrier-based aircraft. In 2018, Boeing won the competition for the development of such a UAV. Her project MQ-25A outperformed competitors from Lockheed Martin and General Atomics. The winner of the program received a contract for the construction of four prototypes with a total value of $ 805 million with payment over several years.

In 2024, the first MQ-25A should reach the stage of initial operational readiness as part of one of the deck squadrons. The appearance of such equipment will improve the condition of the fleet fleet and return to it the necessary capabilities.


According to USNI News, the launch of the current program is determined by the specifics of the activities of carrier-based aviation. When solving a number of tasks, F / A-18E / F Super Hornet fighter-bomber aircraft need refueling in the air. Fighters also perform the functions of refuelers - up to 20-30 percent stand out for this. from the current number of aircraft.

The appearance in service of the UAV MQ-25A, capable of delivering 6,8 tons of fuel at a range of 500 nautical miles, will release fighters for solving combat missions.

In September last year, the Boeing Corporation conducted the first flight of an experienced drone MQ-25A under the designation T-1. The machine continues to fly and shows its characteristics. In addition, the customer was shown that the program has not reached an impasse, and work continues. This year it is planned to conduct the first tests of the T-1 on an aircraft carrier.

According to Boeing's plans, in 2021 new UAVs will be built that are fully consistent with the final version of the project. The first flight from a land airport is planned for 2022, and tests on the deck will start in 2023. Later, in 2024, three or four MQ-25As will be able to begin service in one of the squadrons.

USNI News notes that Boeing was able to complete part of the design work and build a prototype T-1 a few months before the announcement of the competition and the receipt of the contract. All this allowed us to quickly move to a new stage of testing and development work. The program is in accordance with the approved schedule, and the new contract brings the adoption of new equipment into service.
  • Photos used: https://www.navy.mil/
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  1. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
    steelmaker April 4 2020 10: 27
    -3
    When will these UAVs begin to stamp with us? Are we really so behind in this area? What, it is impossible to agree with the Chinese on the exchange of technology? Already the Chinese could share! How many "freebies" have received from us !!!
    1. mor7d Offline mor7d
      mor7d (mor7d) April 4 2020 10: 33
      -4
      the Chinese could share

      Why are you Chinese? Why do the Chinese owe you something?
    2. 123 Offline 123
      123 (123) April 4 2020 12: 30
      +1
      Talk to the Mongols, maybe they will help your grief.
  2. mor7d Offline mor7d
    mor7d (mor7d) April 4 2020 10: 31
    -4
    Refueling drone MQ-25A

    Wow! Americans are still the most advanced and technologically advanced. The rest of the world should only catch up or copy them.
    1. 123 Offline 123
      123 (123) April 4 2020 12: 13
      +2
      Wow! Americans are still the most advanced and technologically advanced. The rest of the world should only catch up or copy them.

      Oh yeah. good Attaching a motor to a canister is a huge breakthrough. fellow The whole world bowed in admiration to the genius of American designers. yes
      What you just won’t go to cut the budget, because in the aircraft industry came difficult times. winked lol
      1. mor7d Offline mor7d
        mor7d (mor7d) April 4 2020 12: 26
        -2
        Attach motor to canister

        It’s not as easy as it seems, you won’t be able to do it for a long time.
        1. 123 Offline 123
          123 (123) April 4 2020 12: 29
          +3
          What exactly? A drone or hammer its insides with kerosene tanks?
          1. mor7d Offline mor7d
            mor7d (mor7d) April 4 2020 12: 32
            -3
            What is it?

            You are far from technology, it is obvious. Were you a political instructor in the Soviet army? And now you earn extra money in retirement? Guessed?
            1. 123 Offline 123
              123 (123) April 4 2020 12: 41
              +2
              Help to become closer to technology? Explain aspects of a “technical breakthrough”? Then let's talk about your insight. laughing
              1. mor7d Offline mor7d
                mor7d (mor7d) April 4 2020 12: 43
                -2
                talk about your insight

                So I guessed right. What rank have they reached? Captain? Something like that, I would not give more.
                1. 123 Offline 123
                  123 (123) April 4 2020 12: 47
                  +3
                  So I guessed right. What rank have they reached? Captain? Something like that, I would not give more.

                  You missed the first part.

                  Explain aspects of a “technical breakthrough”?

                  Then let’s talk about the rest, for your insight is equal to technical literacy.
      2. cmonman Offline cmonman
        cmonman (Garik Mokin) April 5 2020 04: 14
        -2
        What you just won’t go to cut the budget, because in the aircraft industry came difficult times.

        123, one must be jealous with dignity ...! laughing
        1. 123 Offline 123
          123 (123) April 5 2020 10: 58
          +3
          Hi Baltimore hi
          Why jealous? no Please explain the technical essence of the “breakthrough”. Is it the only drone in the world? Or an innovation in its use as a tanker? About the pros and cons of its use on an aircraft carrier wrote in a nearby comment.
          I hope ours will not go for blind copying, an unmanned radar would be much more useful.
          1. cmonman Offline cmonman
            cmonman (Garik Mokin) April 5 2020 16: 16
            -2
            Please explain the technical essence of the “breakthrough”.

            A technical breakthrough can be understood by one who has an aircraft carrier fleet, at least. The radius of the wing will increase by 800 km, plus the invisibility and unmanned, relatively cheap ...
            1. 123 Offline 123
              123 (123) April 5 2020 16: 50
              +3
              A technical breakthrough can be understood by one who has an aircraft carrier fleet, at least. The radius of the wing will increase by 800km.

              As for the carrier fleet, here you are absolutely right, the next 2-3 years for us the problem is not relevant.
              The radius of action is really increasing, this is not done from boredom, today there is not enough available. The development of missile weapons has led to a situation where an aircraft carrier cannot approach "the distance of the shot."
              And the decision, at first glance, is correct, but not so simple.

              The appearance in service of the UAV MQ-25A, capable of delivering 6,8 tons of fuel at a range of 500 nautical miles, will release fighters for solving combat missions.

              Sounds good, but what kind of fighter plan to release? Where will they be stored? The capacity of the hangar is limited. The formula is simple: + one tanker is equivalent - 1 fighter.

              Fighters also perform the functions of refuelers - up to 20-30 percent stand out for this. from the current number of aircraft.

              Consequently, the impact power of the wing is reduced by 20-30%. Every third fighter will have to be left ashore.

              plus invisible and unmanned, relatively cheap ...

              This is nothing new, this is not the first drone and not the first invisibility, and the fact that they are cheaper is also not news.
              So what is the “technical breakthrough”? What is another load placed in the drone?
              1. cmonman Offline cmonman
                cmonman (Garik Mokin) April 5 2020 18: 02
                -2
                So what is the “technical breakthrough”?

                The phrase “technical breakthrough” is not for me, or for translation, or for my press. For amers, this is a “technical solution to the problem” ...
                1. 123 Offline 123
                  123 (123) April 5 2020 19: 39
                  +1
                  not to me, or to the translation or to my press.

                  This changes things a little. The question has disappeared. hi
  3. 123 Offline 123
    123 (123) April 4 2020 12: 07
    +4
    The appearance in service of the UAV MQ-25A, capable of delivering 6,8 tons of fuel at a range of 500 nautical miles, will release fighters for solving combat missions.

    We are waiting for the appearance of a new UAV, to refuel the MQ-25A itself, then it will be able to deliver its canister with kerosene even further. laughing
    Seriously, the “prodigy” is extremely dubious. No, of course, it’s useful to send a “flying canister” for refueling instead of fighters, but there’s not much point in it.

    Fighters also perform the functions of refuelers - up to 20-30 percent stand out for this. from the current number of aircraft.

    The new tankers will occupy the same 20-30% of “parking spaces”, and the hangar on the aircraft carrier, as you know, is not rubber, and it will not work to use the MQ-25A as a fighter. Consequently, the number of fighters is reduced by the same 20-30%.
  4. Termit1309 Offline Termit1309
    Termit1309 (Alexander) April 5 2020 07: 22
    +3
    Quote: mor7d
    It’s not as easy as it seems, you won’t be able to do it for a long time.

    It is very funny to hear this from a representative of a country sliding into the Middle Ages.
    Although clowns are needed in such a difficult time, it’s more fun with them.
  5. Astronaut Offline Astronaut
    Astronaut (San Sanych) April 5 2020 19: 02
    +1
    Some dead little tanker, actually a remote fuel tank.