(ORDO NEWS) — The Boeing MQ-25 T1 Stingray drone has successfully fueled the US Navy’s F-35C Lightning II fighter in the air for the first time, demonstrating that a robot plane can serve as a support for a 5th generation fighter during combat operations.
This is the third test in which the MQ-25 drone demonstrates its ability to act as a support tool for operations involving aircraft carriers.
The last flight of the MQ-25 to refuel the fighter, made on September 13, 2021, was the third since the start of the test program in 2019. It was preceded by refueling of an F / A-18 Super Hornet in June and an E-2D Hawkeye in August to demonstrate that the drone can fuel a large number of deck-based aircraft.
In the latest test, the pilot of the F-35C aircraft carrier followed the MQ-25 to collect data on the aircraft’s performance, propulsion dynamics, structural loads, and flutter strength and stability tests. Then the fighter moved forward, came into contact with the MQ-25 refueling tanker and received fuel:
The information obtained during the flights will be used to modernize the digital models of the MQ-25 in order to improve the first production models of the American aircraft carrier. The next major stage of testing will be the transfer of tests aboard an American aircraft carrier for exercises as close as possible to field conditions.
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