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Boeing reveals autonomous jet that refuels fighter planes in mid-air

Boeing

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 19, 2017 – Boeing [NYSE:BA] for the first time is showing what it believes is the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) best suited for refueling U.S. Navy jets operating from aircraft carriers.

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Through its MQ-25 competition, the Navy is seeking unmanned refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. The MQ-25 will also have to seamlessly integrate with a carrier’s catapult and launch and recovery systems.

“Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years,” said Don ‘BD’ Gaddis, a retired admiral who leads the refueling system program for Boeing’s Phantom Works technology organization. “Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded.”

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The UAS is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations early next year.

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The MQ-25 Stringray aerial tanker will be able to deliver about 15,000 pounds of fuel 500 nautical miles out from an aircraft carrier. That should give fighters an additional 300 to 400 miles of flight range over what they have now.

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Boeing is competing with Lockheed Martin and General Atomics. Northrop Grumman was invited to submit a bid but dropped out of the competition in October. The Navy is expected to select the winning design by next September.

The Navy issued its final request for proposals in October. Proposals are due Jan. 3.

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

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