The U.S. Navy will issue a request for proposals later this year for the deployment of the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refueling tanker, USNI News reported Monday.
The companies received one-year contract modifications from the Navy in April to perform risk reduction activities for the unmanned tanker.
Jamie Cosgrove, a spokeswoman of the Naval Air Systems Command, told USNI News that the service branch has selected USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS George H.W. Bush as the first two carriers that will field MQ-25A.
Cosgrove added the carriers will be upgraded with equipment such as control stations and data links, which are required to control the unmanned tanker.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson looks to deploy MQ-25A as early as 2019, sources told USNI News.
The Defense Department‘s fiscal year 2018 budget request includes $222 million for MQ-25A research and development.