The Coming of the MQ-25


Boeing is bringing the future of unmanned aircraft carrier aviation to the U.S. Navy with its MQ-25.

An unmanned aircraft system designed for the U.S. Navy mission, it will provide the needed robust refueling capability thereby extending the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters.

Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for more than 90 years – we know the flight deck.

The MQ-25 brings the right combination of refueling, autonomy, and seamless carrier deck integration to deliver a solution that meets the U.S. Navy’s goals: put a low-cost unmanned aerial refueling aircraft on the flight deck as soon as possible.

Ready for the Mission

On Aug. 30, 2018, the U.S. Navy awarded Boeing an $805 million contract to build the MQ-25, the Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft.

MQ-25 is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with a much-needed refueling capability, allowing for better use of combat strike fighters by extending the range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C aircraft.

Under the engineering and manufacturing development contract, Boeing will provide four aircraft.

Ready for the Flight Deck

Delivering unmatched carrier flight deck experience

Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the U.S. Navy for more than 90 years. We know carrier operations and can provide seamless integration with existing systems.

Boeing’s carrier heritage stretches back to the 1930s Douglas TBD Devastator to today’s latest-generation F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

We’ve applied all of that experience to our MQ-25 aircraft, bringing the best Boeing has to offer to the U.S. Navy once again.

Ready for the Navy

Accelerating aerial refueling capabilities

We are ready to execute to an aggressive schedule to deliver unmatched carrier flight deck experience.

We are preparing for flight testing with our MQ-25 EMD test asset that will fly in 2019.

This aircraft will help accelerate the MQ-25 EMD program, allowing for early learning and discovery to advance the development of major systems and software.

Industry Team

The MQ-25 Industry Team is all-in on delivering this vital aerial refueling capability to help the U.S. Navy extend the range of the carrier air wing. The industry team includes:

  • Aitech Defense Systems
  • BAE Systems
  • Collins Aerospace
  • Cox & Company
  • Crane Aerospace & Electronics
  • Cubic
  • Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions
  • GE
  • Harris Corporation
  • Héroux-Devtek
  • Honeywell
  • Innovative Power Solutions
  • L3 Commercial Aviation
  • Moog Aircraft Group
  • Parker Hannifin
  • Raytheon
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Triumph Group

And after the first flight of the aircraft, last year, Boeing issued this press release:

Boeing and the U.S. Navy successfully completed the first test flight of the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler. The MQ-25 test asset, known as T1, completed the autonomous flight under the direction of Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Ill. The aircraft completed an autonomous taxi and takeoff and then flew a pre-determined route. The test validated the aircraft’s basic flight functions and operations with the ground control station.

The MQ-25 will provide the Navy with a much-needed carrier-based unmanned aerial refueling capability.

“The flight of this test asset two years before our first MQ-25 arrives represents the first big step in a series of early learning opportunities that are helping us rapidly progress towards delivery of a game-changing capability for the carrier air wing and strike group commanders,” said the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation (PMA-268) Program Manager Capt. Chad Reed.

The Boeing-owned test asset is a predecessor to the engineering development model (EDM) aircraft and is being used for early learning and discovery to meet the goals of the U.S. Navy’s accelerated acquisition program. Boeing will produce four EDM MQ-25 air vehicles for the U.S. Navy.

T1 received its experimental airworthiness certificate from the FAA in September, verifying that the air vehicle meets the agency’s requirements for safe flight.