General Atomics Assesses Aerodynamic Capabilities of MQ-25 Drone; David Alexander Comments

A General Atomics business unit has completed the fourth low-speed wind tunnel test of a carrier-based refueling tanker drone being developed for the U.S. Navy.

The San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautics Systems Inc. said Tuesday its aeronautical systems division assessed and verified the MQ-25 Stingray tanker’s high-lift system and spoiler-based direct lift control, which aligned with computational fluid dynamics predictions.

GA-ASI also demonstrated MQ-25’s ability to conduct several maneuvers on an aircraft carrier.

David Alexander, president of aircraft systems at GA-ASI, stated that the wind tunnel test enables the company to determine and verify the aerodynamics capabilities of the aircraft for carrier operations.

“These tests are critical to the validation of the system’s ‘up and away’ mission performance and will subsequently lower technical performance risk for the Navy customer,” he added.

GA-ASI will conduct the next tests during the drone’s engineering and manufacturing development phase, which will conclude with an evaluation that will focus on the separation of the aerial refueling store and external fuel tank.

The company is working with Boeing, BAE Systems, United Technology Corp., Pratt & Whitney, L3 Technologies, Rockwell Collins and GKN Aerospace’s Fokker business in developing MQ-25 to compete for the Navy’s refueling tanker drone program.

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