MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler completes first test flight with Boeing

MASCOUTAH, Ill. Boeing and the U.S. Navy completed the first test flight of the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler. The MQ-25 test asset completed the autonomous two-hour flight under the direction of Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

Photo courtesy of Boeing.

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 asset 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 program. Boeing will produce four EDM MQ-25 air vehicles for the Navy under an $805 million contract.

The MQ-25 will provide the Navy with 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, according to the company.