ST. LOUIS. Boeing (NYSE:BA) officials have finally unveiled the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) design with which they will compete for the U.S. Navy MQ-25 competition for a modern, unmanned tanker for refueling U.S. Navy jets operating from aircraft carriers using existing carrier catapult launch and recovery systems.
Boeing’s newly revealed UAS is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations early next year.
Through its MQ-25 competition, the Navy is seeking unmanned refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. The MQ-25 must seamlessly integrate with a carrier’s catapult and launch and recovery systems.
The Navy issued its final request for proposals in October. Proposals are due 3 Jan. 2017.
“Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years,” says Don ‘BD’ Gaddis, a retired admiral who leads the refueling system program for Boeing’s Phantom Works technology organization. “Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded.”