The U.S. Navy is closely following the developments of its newest carrier-based unmanned aircraft, the MQ-25 aerial refueler, that will allow for better use of combat strike fighters by extending the range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C aircraft.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday also visited last week to American plane-maker Boeing facility in St. Louis to see the MQ-25 world’s first carrier-based unmanned aircraft and F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III fighter production lines.
“To the entire workforce there who are helping us generate warfighting readiness, you have my profound thanks,” Michael Gilday said, adding that “Your work is critical to our U.S. Navy mission.”
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The MQ-25 system will deliver a robust organic refueling capability to make better use of our combat strike fighters and extend the range of our aircraft carriers. The system will be a critical part of the future Carrier Air Wing (CVW) and will enhance carrier capability and versatility for the Joint Forces Commander through the integration of a persistent, sea-based aerial refueling Unmanned Aircraft System into the CVW.
The Stingray will extend the range and reach of carrier air wings on the West Coast to meet current and future threats and enhance refueling and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities in support of national defense objectives and policies.
In addition, earlier in March 2021, the U.S. Navy reported that MQ-25 Stingray will conduct approximately 960 annual flight operations.