04:24 GMT +322 October 2019
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    US Marine Corps Sergeant Michael Kropiewnicki (C), a Combat Videographer with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) Combat Camera, launching a Boeing Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)(File)

    Boeing, US Navy Successfully Complete First Unmanned Aerial Refueler Test Flight

    © AFP 2019 / Guadalupe M. Deanda III / USMC
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Boeing, the US aircraft manufacturing giant, has announced that together with the US Navy it had completed the first operational unmanned aerial refueler test flight, marking a milestone in the military's efforts to reliably deliver fuel via unmanned aircraft to carrier ships.

    "The MQ-25 test asset, known as T1, completed the autonomous two-hour flight under the direction of Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Ill., where the test program is based", the company said in a press release on Thursday.

    The company added that the unmanned aircraft completed an autonomous taxi and takeoff and then flew a pre-determined route to demonstrate basic flight capability and communication with the ground control station.

    The Navy may purchase more Boeing EA-18G Growlers to improve its electronic warfare capabilities.
    The Navy may purchase more Boeing EA-18G Growlers to improve its electronic warfare capabilities.

    The test flight took place two years before the first MQ-25 is due to join the Navy's aircraft fleet.

    In August 2018, the US Navy awarded Boeing with an $805 million contract for the construction of four MQ-25 Stingray carrier-based unmanned aircraft in efforts to provide the navy with refuelling capacity. The autonomous aircraft is also designed to seamlessly integrate with a carrier's catapult and launch recovery systems.


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