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Boeing demonstrates MQ-25 refueling command by F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot

Boeing has demonstrated the integration of a digital F/A-18 Super Hornet and an MQ-25 Stingray, allowing the fighter pilot to operate the unmanned refueller. 

The Boeing-led team tested in a simulator lab and demonstrated the seamless coordination between an F/A-18 pilot and an unmanned MQ-25. During the testing, the US Navy pilot commanded the Stingray to release a refueling drogue, enabling the Super Hornet to undergo mid-air refueling.  

“Aerial refueling is like a ballet as two airplanes come together,” said Juan Cajigas, Director of the Advanced MQ-25 program at Boeing. “To be able to direct the activities via a single pilot, safely and efficiently, is a major step forward in aerial refueling technology.” 

Boeing has developed this newly advanced Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) software by building upon previous tests and incorporating hardware and datalinks already equipped on the aircraft. This integration ensures a streamlined communication process between the F/A-18 and MQ-25, significantly reducing the time required for aerial refueling operations. 

“MQ-25 is designed to typically receive commands from air vehicle pilots on an aircraft carrier,” Alex Ewing, F/A-18 New Product Development lead at Boeing, explained. “This software will add a second option, enabling pilots to initiate commands right from their cockpit.” 

The Stingray will eventually replace the F/A-18 fighters assigned to refueling roles. With 20% to 30% of their flight time currently dedicated to refueling missions, the new drone will allow the US Navy to preserve the service life of the Super Hornets.   

The post Boeing demonstrates MQ-25 refueling command by F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot appeared first on AeroTime.

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