Boeing unveiled the very first look of its new high-tech refueling drone ‘secret plane’ for US Navy’s MQ-25 tanker drone competition on December 19, 2017.
Boeing is the first of the MQ-25 competitors to formally show off a prototype aircraft which is equipped with refueling capabilities which helps to expand the combat range of the US Navy’s existing fighter jets including Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler.
The drone Boeing has made a full statement about the new unmanned aircraft from Phantom Works, the company’s secretive design division.
“Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years,” Don Gaddis, the head of the refueling system program at Boeing’s Phantom Works, said in a press release. “Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded.”
Boeing has published photo of the aircraft facing head-on to the camera showing that the company has made-up a prototype.
“It’s an aircraft with the mission in mind, and we felt confident that the wing-body-tail design was the best for the refueling mission,” said Boeing spokeswoman Didi VanNierop, who added that the company incorporated lessons from its Phantom Ray unmanned demonstrator and other Boeing unmanned aerial systems.
Boeing expects to receive a great contract from US Navy, looking forward to serve its MQ-25 Stingray programme which aim to deliver jets with 15,000 pounds of fuel, 500 nautical miles from the carrier in mid-airs that operates from aircraft carriers.
The drone hasn’t flown yet but it is functional. The engine test run on the ground, flight test and deck handling will be conduct in early 2018 and the Navy has request all the competitors to submit their formal MQ-25 proposals by January 3,2018.