Navy's unmanned MQ-25 completes first carrier test

By Audrey Decker / December 20, 2021 at 11:57 AM

Boeing announced today its MQ-25 Stingray T1 test asset has successfully maneuvered aboard a Navy aircraft carrier.

The unmanned aircraft taxied on the deck, connected to the catapult, parked and performed other maneuvers on the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), according to a company press release.

“The demonstration was intended to ensure the design of the MQ-25 will successfully integrate into the carrier environment and to evaluate the functionality, capability and handling qualities of the deck handling system both in day and night conditions,” the press release states.

A Boeing deck-handling operator used a handheld deck-control device to maneuver the aircraft, according to the press release.

The MQ-25 test asset has also completed air-to-air refueling tests with the E-2 Advanced Hawkeye, F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-35C Joint Strike Fighter.

Boeing is currently using digital models to bridge the gap between the T1 prototype and the actual aircraft the company will build for the Navy.

“When we got the contract, the prototype we had built did not include all of the functionality and the carrier-based information necessary and corrosion protection for Navy aircraft and the subsystems redundancies and all of that that we need when we go to war, when this airplane goes to war,” said David Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 Program Director.

Boeing’s digital model will link the prototype and the Navy aircraft and validate the two versions of the unmanned system, Bujold told reporters last week.