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This Is Our First Look At Boeing’s MQ-25 Tanker Drone Carrying A Refueling Pod

The T1 test article is a modified version of the design that Boeing submitted to the UCLASS program. The company is now under contract to deliver four more refined Engineering Development Model (EDM) prototypes, the first of which it is scheduled to deliver to the Navy next year. The plan is to have the remaining three finished by 2024.

Boeing has said it hopes to get T1 onto the deck of a Navy aircraft carrier sometime this year to begin conducting various deck handling tests. However, actual carrier-based flight testing, which will use the EDM prototypes, isn’t scheduled to begin until 2022.

The MQ-25 could offer revolutionary benefits for the Navy’s carrier air wings, fundamentally altering how they operate in the future. It will also relieve the service’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from having to fly in the tanker role, freeing them up for other missions and otherwise reducing the strain on that fleet.


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