Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray test asset is completing ground tests at the Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field in Virginia.
The U.S. Navy said the MQ-25 Stingray features unmanned aerial refueling and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that are expected to enhance and extend the range and operational capacity of the Carrier Air Wing and Carrier Strike Group aircraft.
Rear Adm. John Meier, commander of the Naval Air Force Atlantic, called the Stingray “the future of naval aviation,” and noted that the test asset is the first aircraft carrier-based unmanned air vehicle.
“The ground testing is another step toward the teaming of manned and unmanned aircraft platforms,” Meier added. “Integrating platforms like the MQ-25 into the air wing will increase their lethality and reach.”
Rick Schramm, the technical lead engineer on the material review board, said the ground tests at Chambers Field are focusing on deck handling and examining how the MQ-25 would maneuver on board an aircraft carrier.
The MQ-25 is expected to be among the quickest Navy defense acquisition programs to achieve initial operational capability and will refuel every receiver-capable carrier-based aircraft once operational.
In September 2021, the MQ-25 T1 test asset completed its third airborne refueling test flight with the U.S. Navy’s F-35C Lightning II fighter jet.