For the first time in aviation history, the US MQ-25 Stingray drone has refueled a military aircraft mid-flight, Boeing reported.
During a test flight, the unmanned device supplied a US Air Force F / A-18 Super Hornet fighter through an extendable hose, something Boeing called a “historic event.”
During the initial part of the maneuver, the F / A-18 pilot approached about six meters away to ensure the stability of the aircraft. Both aircraft flew at an altitude and with an operationally relevant speed.
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Once the military evaluated the condition of the drone, he connected his fighter to the hose to receive the fuel.
“This team of professionals was integral in the successful flight,” says Rear Admiral Brian Corey, who oversees the Executive Program Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.
Fueling the future: The #Navy made history June 4 conducting the first ever refueling operation between the MQ-25 T1 unmanned tanker and the F/A-18 Super Hornet.— NAVAIR (@NAVAIRNews) June 7, 2021
????: https://t.co/Nk2N3H1W0T pic.twitter.com/lleKEaTjgD
He adds that the US Navy plans to continue collaborating with Boeing in this area.
The first prototype of the Boeing MQ-25 Stingray, manufactured by Boeing for the US Navy, made its maiden flight in September 2019.
The drone is equipped with a 4,500 kilopond Rolls-Royce AE 3007N engine.
Image Credit: Getty