Boeing installed an aerial refueling store into an MQ-25 unmanned tanker test asset in preparation for flight testing later this year, Seapower Magazine reported Thursday.
“When we resume flight testing later this year, we'll have the opportunity to gather test points about the aerodynamics of that pod and the software commands that control it ““ all happening well before we deliver the Navy's first MQ-25 jet with the same pod,“ said Dave Bujold, MQ-25 program director at Boeing. “That early testing and early software development is a big part of supporting the Navy's goal to get MQ-25 to the fleet as quickly as possible.“
Boeing won an $805M contract in August 2018 from the U.S. Navy to build the MQ-25 carrier-based drone, which will perform aerial refueling operations to free up the F/A-18 fighter jet for other missions.
The company and the Navy conducted in September 2019 the first flight test of the MQ-25 T1 test asset.