The Navy’s first-of-its-kind carrier-based drone has been performing advanced ground testing exercises in preparation for its first flight as soon as this year, a process intended to introduce new attack tactics for the service and substantially improve the “strike” reach of aircraft carriers.
The promise of this emerging refueler drone, which will enable F-35Cs and F/A-18s to nearly double their attack range, is expected to bear prominently upon the Navy’s future plans regarding carrier designs, strategies and new technologies. Demonstrator aircraft of the Boeing-built MQ-25 have been undergoing a range of tests, and Boeing developers have announced that accelerated progress with the aircraft may speed up initial flight-testing. Last year, the Navy chose Boeing for the next phase of development of the new drone.
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