Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has just unveiled the MQ-25 Stingray deck drone. At the moment, the novelty is at the stage of engine testing, after which test flights from the deck of the aircraft carrier will begin in 2018.
In the future, the new machine should replace the F / A-18E / F carrier-based fighters, currently performing the functions of flying tankers for carrier-based aircraft. At the same time, more fuel will be placed in the MQ-25 tanks.
Boeing has given no details on its development, which will rival those offered by rivals Lockheed Martin and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. Experts so far have to be content with only one photograph, which shows the fuselage, five-axle landing gear, folding beveled wings with stabilizers and the engine. In some ways, it resembles the X-47B Northrop Grumman, only with a large cross-section to accommodate fuel tanks.
The US Navy plans to use the MQ-25 as part of the UCAAS aviation refueling system. The goal is to expand the range of carrier-based aircraft that will no longer depend on ground tankers. The drone tanker will be able to launch with the help of a catapult from the deck of aircraft carriers, as well as from ground airfields. The option of performing intelligence functions by him is not excluded.