MILITARY / TECHNOLOGY
Boeing and the US Navy have successfully completed the first test flight of the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueller.
The MQ-25 test asset, known as T1, completed the autonomous two-hour flight under the direction of Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station at MidAmerica St Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, where the test programme is based. The aircraft completed an autonomous taxi and take-off and then flew a pre-determined route to validate the aircraft’s basic flight functions and operations with the ground control station.
Boeing MQ-25 Program Director Dave Bujold said: “Seeing MQ-25 in the sky is a testament to our Boeing and Navy team working the technology, systems and processes that are helping get MQ-25 to the carrier. This aircraft and its flight test programme ensure we’re delivering the MQ-25 to the carrier fleet with the safety, reliability and capability the U.S. Navy needs to conduct its vital mission.”
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 US Navy’s accelerated acquisition programme.
Boeing will produce four EDM MQ-25 air vehicles for the US Navy under an $805 million contract awarded in August 2018.