Navy completes unmanned aerial refueling test with MQ-25 and E-2D

By Audrey Decker / August 19, 2021 at 11:29 AM

The Navy's unmanned MQ-25 Stingray completed an air-to-air refueling test with the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye on Wednesday, the service announced today.

The test took place in MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, IL, according to a press release.

In June, the Navy completed its first-ever refueling from an unmanned tanker to an F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Once the MQ-25 is operational, it will be able to refuel every receiver-capable platform, according to the Navy.

"The Stingray's persistent mission tanking coupled with the E-2D's aerial refueling capability will transform the Hawkeye from an over-the-horizon airborne early warning platform limited to shorter missions in the carrier environment, to an asset capable of providing comprehensive battle management for extended periods from anywhere within the battlespace," the press release states.

A Boeing-led team previously conducted a virtual demonstration of manned-unmanned teaming using the MQ-25, the E-2D and the F/A-18 to demonstrate different teaming possibilities.

Boeing will complete another demonstration later this year. The MQ-25 program should be in flight test in 2023, according to Don Gaddis, Boeing's MQ-25 advanced design lead.

The Navy requested $47 million for the MQ-25 in its fiscal year 2022 budget.