The new U.S. Boeing-made drone is now hyping various military experts and critics after it successfully refueled a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet in mid-air for the first time. As of the moment, military agencies across the globe are refueling their jets using manned planes.
The new MQ-25 Stingray's developers also said that it could soon be the world's first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft. This is a big deal since most military drones are not stationed in huge war boats. Instead, they are mostly found ground bases of various defense agencies.
During the new drone's flight, it approached the Super Hornet from 20 feet above the ground. After they reached each other, the MQ-25 Stingray flew from the fighter jet's behind and extended its hose to the plane.
The U.S. Navy Super Hornet operators then grabbed the hose and connected it to the fuel hole to start the mid-air refueling.
MQ-25 Stingray's Arrival
As of the moment, most of the defense planes developed by various military and navy agencies are still operated by pilots. These include South Korea's KF-X Jet.
On the other hand, some companies also started focusing on commercial planes to improve the passengers' air experiences, such as the upcoming Overture super aircraft.
On the other hand, PC Mag reported that the new U.S. Navy drone will be different from the latest jets and other commercial planes since it will be a large drone that doesn't need human operators to fly it.
The U.S. Navy also said that this is a great advancement in defense development. The agency added that it will analyze and examine this first unmanned mid-air refueling activity to improve the new carrier-based drone further.
Why Is This a Big Deal?
According to Aerospace Museum's recent report, aerial refueling is currently hard to do since it requires the pilot to have efficient navigation skills. Aside from this, the other human operator of the jet that requires refueling also needs to have a connection to the other pilot so that they can easily complete the process.
The arrival of the new MQ-25 Stingray is a big deal since the drone can easily be programmed to adjust its speed and height depending on the position of the other jet. Once the U.S. Navy completes all the required tests, this new unmanned drone can be used in various war exercises, as well as commercial flights.
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Written by: Griffin Davis