The giant aircraft developer, Boeing, has developed an unmanned aerial vehicle that inspired through a “stingray.” It is conceptualized for the refueling of U.S. Navy fighter jets in the midair.
The prototype is dubbed as MQ-25A “Stingray,” which could deliver about 15,000 pounds of fuel 500 nautical miles out from an aircraft carrier. This could provide the fighter planes an extra 300 to 400 miles of flight range. The fighters include the deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C.
Don Gaddis, who works at Boeing’s Phantom Works technology wing, said that Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years. He further said that their expertise gives them confidence in their approach. He added that Boeing will be prepared for flight testing once the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded, as noted by Sputnik.
MQ-25A Stingray is Boeing’s entry for the Navy’s request for proposals of unmanned refueling capabilities for the mentioned fighter planes. This paves a way to the organization of the MQ-25 competition, which is due on January 3, 2018.
Among the other two companies that participate in the competition are Lockheed Martin and General Atomics. The Northrop Grumman is expected to submit its entry, but it announced its withdrawal in the competition in late October. The winning entry design will be selected and announced by the Navy by September 2018, according to Geek Wire.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) had chosen Boeing to create the xS-1 space plane. This could be the first ever new class of hypersonic aircraft that would deliver a low-cost journey to space. Some speculated that this proposed plane will be the new electric aircraft that will be equipped with a hairdryer-type engine that could take-off and land vertically, according to Telegraph.
The multinational aircraft manufacturer also bought the Aurora Flight Sciences, that develops electric-powered aircraft designed for commercial and military purposes. It also won a contract to build the XV-24A LightningStrike VTOL or Vertical Take-Off and Landing plane for the DARPA design competition. This generates speculations that Boeing might introduce a new electric aircraft in the future.