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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Boeing drones successfully refueled another aircraft in the air for the first time

Boeing drones successfully refueled another aircraft in the air for the first time

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:78

According to foreign media reports, this is the first time in history that an unmanned aerial vehicle successfully refueled another aircraft while flying together. In testing, Boeing's MQ-25 T1 aerial refueling aircraft transferred jet fuel to the US Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet.

After winning a US Navy contract worth $805 million, the MQ-25 T1 was developed and manufactured at Boeing's factory in St. Louis, Missouri under the US Navy codenamed "Yellow Sable Fish" project. This prototype drone conducted its first autonomous flight at St. Louis Airport in China and the United States in 2019, but did not refuel at that time.

However, on June 4th of this year, when the self flying MQ-25 refueled an F/A-18 Super Hornet in the air, the situation was not the same. The fighter pilot began flying in a dense formation below and behind the drone, when the MQ-25 released and extended its fuel delivery cone.

Then the pilot enters so that the cone can be coupled with the fuel probe installed on the F/A-18 nose, and jet fuel is transferred from MQ-25 to Super Hornet. According to Boeing, both aircraft are flying at operational speeds and altitudes.

In the end, the plan required the Stingray tanker to fly on an aircraft carrier, which could refuel passing F/A-18 Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, and F-35C Lightning II aircraft. This task is currently being carried out by F/A-18 with pilots flying, and in order to complete this task, they must withdraw from the combat mission.

The MQ-25 T1 will now be transported to Norfolk, Virginia, where it will undergo carrier deck testing later this year.