s navys first mq 25a stingray unmanned tanker for an at sea demonstration and conducting that carriers. First, f: 35c joint strike fighter flight operations. The service announced december 20. It had completed an unmanned carrier aviation demonstration installing a ground control station on the ship and proving the uav could integrate into that carrier environment on a pitching flight deck with the operator following the hand signals of the aircraft handlers and with ship based operators. Maintaining connectivity, even while the drone is mid air and away from the carrier for the demonstration. A prototype, md5 ground control station was installed in what is being called an unmanned aviation warfare center, a first of its kind control room that would be set up on carriers to support mq 25 operations. According to a news release, the team in this control room would coordinate the drones missions, as well as its approaches to the ship. During landing, the boeing owned t 1 test vehicle then conducted day and night operations at sea, including taxiing and parking on the flight deck. Connecting to the catapult and clearing out of the landing area, in addition to the team in the control room, mq 25 dec operators used boeings, handheld deck control device during these maneuvers working alongside navy taxi directors and converting the sailos directions into corresponding inputs for the mq 25 early testing allowed our team the opportunity to evaluate many new systems for the first time at sea. With t1 captain chad, reid, unmanned carrier aviation program manager, said in the navy news release our initial look at taxi operations on the flight deck successfully demonstrated the mq 25s ability to maneuver just like a manned aircraft in the shipboard environment, though t1 did not take off Or land on the ship, yet a surrogate aircraft was used to test the hardware and software associated with the joint precision landing system installed on aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships to guide f, 35cs and f 35bs for safe landings.

The system will be integrated into the mq 25, as well as navy and marine corps variants of the v 22 osprey. There is no better way to determine the success of a carrier, aircraft design and its integration into the air wing than to put that new aircraft through testing at sea. Reed said in the news release its an exciting time as we progress toward the air wing of the future. Mq 25 will conduct aerial refueling for other aircraft in this air wing of the future, including the fa. 18Ef super hornet, the f 35c, the e2d advanced hawkeye and the ea 18g growler, the first of that air wing of the future configuration minus the mq 25 is on deployment now aboard carrier carl vinson in the pacific, while several other carriers have operated the f 35 By now, the bush has not it spent 30 months in a deep maintenance period at norfolk naval shipyard in virginia leaving the yard in late august and conducting a range of trials and fleet activities since on december 12, those activities included hosting carrier qualifications for strike fighter. Squadron 125. The f 35c fleet replacement squadron that trains up new joint strike fighter pilots, giving the ships crew members a first look up close at the jet and the capability it will bring to their air wing rear admiral andrew loizel, who leads the chief of naval operations. Air warfare directorate opniv n98 told usni news in a recent interview that, as of tuesday, the t1 prototype is aboard uss george h, w bush cvn 77 for the ships carrier qualifications.

The tests for the boeing built mq 25a stingray are the next steps in providing a capability for the service to operate at longer. Ranges in regions like the indo pacific, as it adjusts to a strategy focused on conflict with pure competitors like china and russia. Loiselle, who became the top aviation requirements officer in june, described mq 25 as a crucial component of the navys effort to gear up for operating at longer ranges like those it would face in the indo pacific region. The prototype which boeing originally built for the unmanned carrier, launched airborne surveillance and strike a clasp program that was later retooled into a tanker has already performed overland tests. Refueling an fa18f super hornet, an e2d advanced hawkeye and an f 35c lightning, 2 joint strike fighter. The navy plans to have warrant officers operating the tankers with the first 10, currently going through processing ahead of a training that will be specific to the mq 25a loisel said. He noted that the navys approach to unmanned aerial systems includes more autonomy than that of the air force. Loiselle said the navy tried to make the mq 25 requirement simple to expedite how fast it could get the aircraft out to the fleet, but now he is recommending other potential missions for the tanker boeing beat out lockheed martin and general atomics for the contract to build The carrier based drone in 2018., the first few engineering development model aircraft currently under construction, are slated to come off the production line next year, while ioc is scheduled for fiscal year 2025.

. While the navy is currently focused on the refueling requirement, loyzell said the service sees a future for the mq 25 program to perform more missions like intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tim walton, a fellow at the hudson institutes center for defense concepts in technology said a future variant Of the mq 25 could help the navy have an aircraft aboard its carriers that can operate at longer ranges and perform other missions. The mq 25 has a great deal of potential, not only for isr, but also for other missions such as strike or airborne. Electronic attack. Walton, who recently co authored a report about aerial refueling, told usni news waltons report argued that the u.s military needs to invest more money in the aerial refueling mission to remain competitive against china. In the indo pacific, for example, the navy would need far more mq 25 tankers or help from the air force if it were operating an aircraft carrier outside the range of chinas df 26 missile, which is reportedly 4000 kilometers with four f 35cs. According to the report, loyzelle said discussions about expanding the mq 25a program of record are nascent in impending budget and top line review.