The US Navy has ordered an additional three MQ-25 STINGRAY unmanned aerial refuelling aircraft from Boeing, the company announced on 2 April. This brings the total number of aircraft Boeing is contracted to build to seven.
“This order establishes uninterrupted production of the first MQ-25 aircraft and lines up with the Navy’s MQ-25 test and training plans for fleet introduction. The MQ-25 program is vital in ensuring the Navy can deliver a critical unmanned aerial refueling capability to the carrier air wing,” commented Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 Program Director.
This $84.7 million modification exercises options for three MQ-25 system demonstration test articles, and was an option identified in the original $805 million contract for four aircraft awarded in August 2018.
Early flight testing of the test asset, T1, is contributing to programme progress. The company recently concluded the first round of flight testing for T1, resulting in nearly 30 hours in the air at various speeds and altitudes. The aircraft is now undergoing a planned modification that includes installation of an aerial refuelling store (ARS) under the left wing. Flight testing with the ARS will resume later this year.