Boeing making navy MQ-25A refueling drone

Boeing has an $805 million contract to build and support four large MQ-25A unmanned drones.

The four drones will have initial operation in 2024. They will supply refueling.

The Navy eventually plans to buy 72 more Stingray drones with a total program cost of about $13 billion.

The new tanker could double the strike range of the carrier air wing, with the MQ-25A delivering up to 15,000 pounds of fuel at 500 nautical miles.

18 thoughts on “Boeing making navy MQ-25A refueling drone”

  1. A rather lovely thing, this. 15,000 pounds (wait! where’s the Metric?) of fuel is a goodly amount. Looks kind of like a pregnant guppie. Kind of. Gotta put that 15,000 lbs of fuel somewhere! Not exactly stealthy. I’ve always wondered why a variant on the Flying Wing (https:\upload.wikimedia.orgwikipediacommons88fYB49-6_300.jpg … replace all with /) isn’t used for fuel delivery. Especially “Drone” … where the stealth properties of the wing are outstanding, and teh whole volume of it stores the fuel. Oh well. Not my career. Just saying GoatGuy.

    Reply
  2. A rather lovely thing this.15000 pounds (wait! where’s the Metric?) of fuel is a goodly amount. Looks kind of like a pregnant guppie. Kind of. Gotta put that 15000 lbs of fuel somewhere!Not exactly stealthy. I’ve always wondered why a variant on the Flying Wing (https:\\upload.wikimedia.org\wikipedia\commons\8\8f\YB49-6_300.jpg … replace all \ with /) isn’t used for fuel delivery. Especially Drone”” … where the stealth properties of the wing are outstanding”””” and teh whole volume of it stores the fuel. Oh well. Not my career.Just sayingGoatGuy.”””

    Reply
  3. Just speculating but probably because operationally, you can control to a degree where refueling ops have to happen. So let’s say worse case scenario we’re in a full on air war with China, and you have B-2 bomber sorties taking off from Guam and flying to China and back, and you need to refuel, you don’t necessarily need to refuel so close to Chinese mainland so as to have a lot of concern about the refueling drone being intercepted. Nobody else has a very effective blue water navy to where you have a lot of concern for anti-drone or anti-air over the open water. So the cost/benefit on stealth refueling craft is high.

    Reply
  4. Just speculating but probably because operationally you can control to a degree where refueling ops have to happen. So let’s say worse case scenario we’re in a full on air war with China and you have B-2 bomber sorties taking off from Guam and flying to China and back and you need to refuel you don’t necessarily need to refuel so close to Chinese mainland so as to have a lot of concern about the refueling drone being intercepted. Nobody else has a very effective blue water navy to where you have a lot of concern for anti-drone or anti-air over the open water. So the cost/benefit on stealth refueling craft is high.

    Reply
  5. A large platform like that could be adapted for so many other roles. AWACS and EW platform comes to mind, as well as a weaponized version acting as an arsenal plane for Navy and Marine F-35’s. Acting as an arsenal plane for ASW platforms is another possible use. Farther in the future, a laser armed version cold be orbiting the task force to provide interception capability against enemy missile attacks. There are lots of interesting possibilities to be had.

    Reply
  6. A large platform like that could be adapted for so many other roles. AWACS and EW platform comes to mind as well as a weaponized version acting as an arsenal plane for Navy and Marine F-35’s. Acting as an arsenal plane for ASW platforms is another possible use.Farther in the future a laser armed version cold be orbiting the task force to provide interception capability against enemy missile attacks. There are lots of interesting possibilities to be had.

    Reply
  7. A large platform like that could be adapted for so many other roles. AWACS and EW platform comes to mind, as well as a weaponized version acting as an arsenal plane for Navy and Marine F-35’s. Acting as an arsenal plane for ASW platforms is another possible use. Farther in the future, a laser armed version cold be orbiting the task force to provide interception capability against enemy missile attacks. There are lots of interesting possibilities to be had.

    Reply
  8. A large platform like that could be adapted for so many other roles. AWACS and EW platform comes to mind as well as a weaponized version acting as an arsenal plane for Navy and Marine F-35’s. Acting as an arsenal plane for ASW platforms is another possible use.Farther in the future a laser armed version cold be orbiting the task force to provide interception capability against enemy missile attacks. There are lots of interesting possibilities to be had.

    Reply
  9. Just speculating but probably because operationally, you can control to a degree where refueling ops have to happen. So let’s say worse case scenario we’re in a full on air war with China, and you have B-2 bomber sorties taking off from Guam and flying to China and back, and you need to refuel, you don’t necessarily need to refuel so close to Chinese mainland so as to have a lot of concern about the refueling drone being intercepted. Nobody else has a very effective blue water navy to where you have a lot of concern for anti-drone or anti-air over the open water. So the cost/benefit on stealth refueling craft is high.

    Reply
  10. Just speculating but probably because operationally you can control to a degree where refueling ops have to happen. So let’s say worse case scenario we’re in a full on air war with China and you have B-2 bomber sorties taking off from Guam and flying to China and back and you need to refuel you don’t necessarily need to refuel so close to Chinese mainland so as to have a lot of concern about the refueling drone being intercepted. Nobody else has a very effective blue water navy to where you have a lot of concern for anti-drone or anti-air over the open water. So the cost/benefit on stealth refueling craft is high.

    Reply
  11. A rather lovely thing, this. 15,000 pounds (wait! where’s the Metric?) of fuel is a goodly amount. Looks kind of like a pregnant guppie. Kind of. Gotta put that 15,000 lbs of fuel somewhere! Not exactly stealthy. I’ve always wondered why a variant on the Flying Wing (https:\upload.wikimedia.orgwikipediacommons88fYB49-6_300.jpg … replace all with /) isn’t used for fuel delivery. Especially “Drone” … where the stealth properties of the wing are outstanding, and teh whole volume of it stores the fuel. Oh well. Not my career. Just saying GoatGuy.

    Reply
  12. A rather lovely thing this.15000 pounds (wait! where’s the Metric?) of fuel is a goodly amount. Looks kind of like a pregnant guppie. Kind of. Gotta put that 15000 lbs of fuel somewhere!Not exactly stealthy. I’ve always wondered why a variant on the Flying Wing (https:\\upload.wikimedia.org\wikipedia\commons\8\8f\YB49-6_300.jpg … replace all \ with /) isn’t used for fuel delivery. Especially Drone”” … where the stealth properties of the wing are outstanding”””” and teh whole volume of it stores the fuel. Oh well. Not my career.Just sayingGoatGuy.”””

    Reply
  13. A large platform like that could be adapted for so many other roles. AWACS and EW platform comes to mind, as well as a weaponized version acting as an arsenal plane for Navy and Marine F-35’s. Acting as an arsenal plane for ASW platforms is another possible use.

    Farther in the future, a laser armed version cold be orbiting the task force to provide interception capability against enemy missile attacks. There are lots of interesting possibilities to be had.

    Reply
  14. Just speculating but probably because operationally, you can control to a degree where refueling ops have to happen. So let’s say worse case scenario we’re in a full on air war with China, and you have B-2 bomber sorties taking off from Guam and flying to China and back, and you need to refuel, you don’t necessarily need to refuel so close to Chinese mainland so as to have a lot of concern about the refueling drone being intercepted. Nobody else has a very effective blue water navy to where you have a lot of concern for anti-drone or anti-air over the open water. So the cost/benefit on stealth refueling craft is high.

    Reply
  15. A rather lovely thing, this.

    15,000 pounds (wait! where’s the Metric?) of fuel is a goodly amount. Looks kind of like a pregnant guppie. Kind of. Gotta put that 15,000 lbs of fuel somewhere!

    Not exactly stealthy.

    I’ve always wondered why a variant on the Flying Wing (https:\\upload.wikimedia.org\wikipedia\commons\8\8f\YB49-6_300.jpg … replace all \ with /) isn’t used for fuel delivery. Especially “Drone” … where the stealth properties of the wing are outstanding, and teh whole volume of it stores the fuel.

    Oh well.
    Not my career.

    Just saying
    GoatGuy.

    Reply

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