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Navy Drone Refuels Fighter Jet, a Key Step Toward Adding UAVs to Carrier Wings

The Navy has announced that its MQ-25 T1 Stingray will endure tests on an aircraft carrier later this year ahead of the expected 2025 deployment. A test drone refueled a crewed fighter jet over Illinois on Friday, marking a key step in the military’s plans to incorporate unmanned aircraft into its carrier air winds. The two test pilots flying the fuel-loaded drones evaluated various aspects during the tests. The test moves the Navy and Air Force one step closer to using unmanned aerial vehicles in new capacities.

The Boeing-built MQ-25 will become the first unmanned aircraft added to carrier air wings. The craft will provide some intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assistance alongside its refueling duties that were tested earlier this week at the MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah Illinois. The Super Hornet aircraft that was refueled approached the drone and examined its stability in close proximity to the aircraft to ensure that the drone is able to fly despite the wind. The drone was able to transfer 300 pounds of fuel 10,000 feet above the ground.

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