Military Review

American carrier-based unmanned tanker MQ-25 Stingray tested for flight duration

American carrier-based unmanned tanker MQ-25 Stingray tested for flight duration

The American MQ-25 Stingray carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle with the installed refueling equipment has begun a new stage of testing. According to Jane's, the drone was tested for flight duration and climb.

As explained in the Boeing concern, during the tests, the device spent more than six hours in the air, reaching an altitude of 9,1 thousand meters. The corporation did not clarify whether these parameters are maximum.

Flight tests of the prototype MQ-25 Stingray tanker aircraft with the installed refueling equipment began in December last year. The first flight lasted 2,5 hours, during which time the specialists of the concern studied the influence of the suspended refueling equipment on the aerodynamics of the drone.

In 2018, Boeing won a $ 805 million contract to build the first four MQ-25As. On April 2, 2020, the US Navy signed an additional contract with Boeing for the supply of 3 more MQ-25A drones. All of them will be used in demonstration and evaluation tests.

According to the project, the drone will be able to transport up to 6,8 tons of fuel over a distance of up to 926 kilometers. An overhead container with a hose-cone system will be used for refueling aircraft.

The US Navy plans to purchase 72 Stingray units, allocating a total of about 13 billion dollars for their purchase. This will ease the load on the fleet F / A-18F Super Hornet, refueling other aircraft. The Pentagon intends to put into operation the first drone MQ-25A in 2024.
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  1. OgnennyiKotik
    OgnennyiKotik 19 March 2021 16: 55
    The MQ-25 will remove the Super Hornets' non-core task of refueling aircraft.

    By the end of the 20th, such an air wing is planned on aircraft carriers.
    1. Runway
      Runway 20 March 2021 01: 11
      According to estimates, "three Ps" are:
      - the Yankees will receive 6-7 drone tankers for one air steamer;
      - one UAV at a distance of 500 km from the steamer can feed 2 Hornets, increasing their BR by a third (1000 km)
      - the drone will be released for the task of 6-7 strikers;
      The steamer receives 1000-12 aircrafts with a good combat load at a radius of at least 14 km. There may be less of them in favor of AWACS boards.
      It becomes possible to nullify the capabilities of the Zircon / Caliber anti-ship missiles / other "stones".
      1. OgnennyiKotik
        OgnennyiKotik 20 March 2021 01: 17
        The F-35C and F / A-18E / F with 2 PTBs already have a radius of 1000 km, with these UAVs they will increase to 1200-1400 km, without losing the strike and fighter capabilities of the AUG. There will be new attack UAVs, the goal is to increase the combat radius to 1600 km (1000 mi).
        1. Runway
          Runway 20 March 2021 01: 22
          I figured Hornet without PTB (bonus - combat load).
      2. mvg
        mvg 20 March 2021 02: 35
        other "stones"

        They will be gone anyway. Basalts, Granites, Volcanoes - this is the production of 80-90 years, the expiration date of both the starting engines and the rockets themselves has expired. The last launches of Granites are Swan Song.
        1. Runway
          Runway 20 March 2021 02: 39
          The question is when we will re-arm Antaea and Atlanta.
          1. mvg
            mvg 20 March 2021 03: 34
            when we re-arm Antaea and Atlanta

            Atlanta 1164 no one will rearm. It is not profitable, otherwise Moscow would be modernized for current repairs. The last photo of her, goes without the GC. With empty containers. Moreover, there is a problem with the PUs themselves.
            949A is also not a fact that they will survive to modernize. If only not all 5 pieces.
  2. Kote Pan Kokhanka
    Kote Pan Kokhanka 19 March 2021 16: 57
    A predictable but interesting solution.
    Namba also did not interfere with "giving birth to something like that", although not necessarily for aircraft carriers. However, for us the most relevant is the flying radar.
    1. Cowbra
      Cowbra 19 March 2021 18: 38
      Can you tell me, what for is an unmanned fuel tanker? By definition, a fuel tanker does not need to enter the air defense zone, and moreover, remote control, by definition, is more emergency, that is, less reliable. What's the point in an unmanned fuel tanker? Let me remind you that the KS-46 pegasus tanker was hacked to death only because the operator is not driving the barbell live, but on the monitors. And then the whole drone will be on the monitors
      1. evgen1221
        evgen1221 19 March 2021 19: 04
        And not the fact that the fuel truck will fly and fly on monitors. Rather, a program for certain actions and correction in different situations in flight will be created by driving fuel trucks around the monitor for a while. And then I think they will do everything themselves. And they will fill the hangar and then he will taxi himself, stand in line and also return to the hangar after the flight. And there is reason to think so in light of their drone hype.
        1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
          Kote Pan Kokhanka 19 March 2021 19: 11
          I will support Eugene. The most precious thing about an airplane is a pilot. If you create an automated flying station for refueling, then the need to drive piloted refuellers disappears. This will also allow organizing a flexible refueling system and even escorting both manned vehicles and UAVs.
      2. grandfather_Kostya
        grandfather_Kostya 19 March 2021 21: 55
        In the hose-cone system, the "fueling operator" is the pilot receiving the fuel. The task of the "fuel tanker" is to keep the speed, course and height stably.
        1. Cowbra
          Cowbra 19 March 2021 22: 44
          In the system of an aircraft carrier - aircraft carrier aircraft - even the coordinates of the landing site are a variable, not a programmable value. In addition, performing any kind of maneuver near another aircraft is risky. The minimum maneuvers will have to be performed due to the same wind, for example. It is a living pilot that is logical here, and unmanned - it is logical to do transport aviation. Less damage in case of failure will be.
          1. grandfather_Kostya
            grandfather_Kostya 20 March 2021 09: 46
            The flexible hose will take over the minimum vibrations of the aircraft. With strong bumpiness, it is easier to unhook and reapply. Approximately the same dimension of the distributor and the receiver is even useful, from a large tanker there are large swirls of air at the ends of the wings. And the landing approach rests on the stable connection of the fuel tanker with the aircraft carrier, the rest has already been worked out.
      3. Bogatyrev
        Bogatyrev 21 March 2021 13: 48
        Judging by the glider, it is inconspicuous. So the "air defense zone" for him starts much further from the base.
        And it is not necessary for him to meddle there, it is enough to fill a group or patrol.
  3. knn54
    knn54 19 March 2021 17: 04
    It is a pity that you will not be able to refuel for "free" Is it possible to take over control and plant?
  4. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 19 March 2021 17: 27
    We are witnessing the birth and formation of a new species - unmanned naval aviation. So the Turks hit the sea target from their "bayraktar", confirming this possibility.
    By the way, VO, for some reason, ignored this news.
    What an interesting time all the same!
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 19 March 2021 17: 38
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      for some reason ignored this news.

      Well, nothing special, where the laser shines, there the bomb flies. In this case, more interesting is its target designation capabilities. The TB-2S version already has a radar.
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      the emergence of a new type - unmanned naval aviation.

      Yes. More precisely, it already exists, the US Navy and the USMC are already very actively using them MQ-8В / С, MQ-9B, RQ-4. The Turks are adapting their UAVs for the UDC, the US Navy is purchasing tankers and drones, the ILC is launching a number of UAV programs to equip troops and ships.

    2. Andrey Korotkov
      Andrey Korotkov 19 March 2021 17: 39
      Leader, can I ask you to throw off the link to the defeat of the naval target of the Turkish bpp, ATP for earlier
      1. The leader of the Redskins
        The leader of the Redskins 19 March 2021 17: 44
        Bayraktar TB2 for the first time hitting the sea tsil (VIDEO)
        The first hour of the Turkish military-naval navies Mavi Vatan 2021 Bayraktar TB2 free-flown ...

        Damn, not good at computers ... On the Ukrainian portal. Do you speak Ukrainian?
        1. Flooding
          Flooding 19 March 2021 17: 52
          Quote: Leader of the Redskins
          The first hour of the Turkish military-naval navies Mavi Vatan 2021 Bayraktar TB2 free-flown ...

          Are the Ukrainian Armed Forces Trying on a New Type of Weapon?
          1. The leader of the Redskins
            The leader of the Redskins 19 March 2021 18: 09
            It may very well be. They probably have more Bayraktar than MiGs and Su ...
          2. Avior
            Avior 19 March 2021 18: 50
            Very similar to that
  5. Maks1995
    Maks1995 19 March 2021 17: 50
    13 billion / 72 UAVs = 180 million apiece.
    How expensive?
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 19 March 2021 18: 02
      $ 13 billion is for everything. R&D, development, testing, creation, training, fuel, modernization of aircraft carriers, etc. The price of the aircraft itself is a maximum of a third or even a quarter of the price.
      1. mvg
        mvg 20 March 2021 02: 51
        The price of the plane itself is a maximum of a third or even a quarter of the price

        It does not add up, the price tag for the KS-46, from $ 159 million for a naked plane, to $ 279 million with technical support. This is the price tag for Japan. The UAV will not cost less than $ 100 million
        1. OgnennyiKotik
          OgnennyiKotik 20 March 2021 02: 57
          What does the KC-46 have to do with it? There are no complicated and expensive systems in the MQ-25, an ordinary UAV with a healthy tank inside, the price is increased only by the take-off and landing system on AB and refueling, in the series it will be $ 40-60 million edge.
  6. wow
    wow 19 March 2021 18: 04
    Everything for "... sitting in Texas under the air conditioner and waging a war in Australia (or Europe or ... in Russia)! Is complete nonsense and the Americans themselves, unfortunately, will never understand this."
  7. TatarinSSSR
    TatarinSSSR 19 March 2021 20: 47
    As a noob in this area, I am very interested in how many operators do you need to maintain to serve 70 such unmanned tankers? I suspect that by 2050 at least 50% of the world's armies will be maintenance technicians and drone operators.
    1. Saxahorse
      Saxahorse 19 March 2021 22: 30
      Quote: TatarinSSSR
      It’s very interesting how many operators are needed to service 70 of these unmanned tankers?

      I think you need 5-7 operators. The drone does most of the work itself, the operator controls only slippery moments, such as landing or docking for refueling. Well, so that someone else does not tuck in between times. laughing

      In general, the work is round-the-clock, we need shift workers. So it is desirable for drone drivers to have a wide profile, from an attack aircraft to a fuel tanker.
      1. TatarinSSSR
        TatarinSSSR 20 March 2021 11: 05
        I imagine you enter this flight school (academy), and there the faculty is "pilot-operator of a UAV of a wide profile" ...
  8. CastroRuiz
    CastroRuiz 20 March 2021 16: 57
    Ochen poleznayu mashinka.
    A te perspektivi kotorie takoy dron dayot, nu ogromnie.