Jun 9, 2021 - Energy & Environment

U.S. Navy uses drone to refuel in midair for the first time

An unmanned aircraft refueling a Navy fighter jet in midair for the first time.

Photo: U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy has used a drone to refuel a fighter jet in midair for the "first time ever," according to a statement.

Why it matters: The test shows that drones can now be used for tasks beyond reconnaissance missions or shooting targets, freeing up the Navy's costly crewed fighter jets for other operations.

The big picture: The Boeing-made MQ-25 Stingray drone connected to the Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet via hose and transferred fuel to the fighter while flying over the Midwest last Friday, according to Monday's statement.

What they're saying: Rear Adm. Brian Corey who oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, said in a statement the MQ-25 "will greatly increase the range and endurance of the future carrier air wing — equipping our aircraft carriers with additional assets well into the future."

  • Rear Adm. Brian Corey, who oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, said in Boeing's statement that over the next few years, "we will work side-by-side with Boeing to deliver this capability that will greatly enhance the future carrier air wing."
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