MQ-25A Unmanned Tanker Tested at Sea on Carrier George H.W. Bush

The prototype for the Navy’s unmanned refueling tanker is now aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier ahead of at-sea testing. The tests for the Boeing-built MQ-25A Stingray are the next steps in providing a capability for the service to operate at longer ranges in regions like the Indo-Pacific, as it adjusts to a strategy focused on conflict with peer competitors like China and Russia. The prototype – which Boeing originally built for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program that was later retooled into a tanker – has already performed overland tests refueling an F/A-18F Super Hornet, an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and an F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. Details at

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in their  # 21 - 29 - 8 DECEMBER 2021 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN).

David distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this NREF news update was sourced. To be included in his distribution, simply send a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.