MQ-25 test aircraft takes off – UV – Unmanned Vehicles
The US Navy’s MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler has completed its first test flight.
Known as T1, the MQ-25 test aircraft completed the autonomous two-hour flight under the direction of Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, where the test programme is based.
The aircraft completed an autonomous taxi and takeoff and then flew a pre-determined route to validate the aircraft’s basic flight functions and operations with the ground control station.
The Boeing-owned test aircraft is a predecessor to the engineering development model (EDM) aircraft and is being used for early learning and discovery to meet the goals of the navy’s accelerated acquisition programme. Boeing will produce four EDM MQ-25 air vehicles under an $805 million contract awarded in August 2018.
The MQ-25 will provide the navy with a carrier-based unmanned aerial refueling capability. It will allow for better use of the combat strike fighters currently performing the tanking role and will extend the range of the carrier air wing.