Boeing Aircraft

The Boeing MQ-25 Stingray is an aerial refueling drone that resulted from the Carrier-Based Aerial-Refueling System (CBARS) program.


Boeing MQ-25 Stingray


The United States Navy began its efforts to develop an aircraft carrier-based UAV in 2006. The original UCLASS concept was for a stealthy strike platform capable of penetrating enemy air defenses. In 2012, lethality and strike requirements were diluted in order to create an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)-oriented aircraft that could be developed quickly to conduct low-intensity counter-terrorism missions.


On 1 February 2016, after many delays over whether the UCLASS would specialize in strike or ISR roles, it was reported that a significant portion of the effort would be directed to produce a Super Hornet-sized carrier-based aerial refueling tanker as the Carrier-Based Aerial-Refueling System (CBARS), with "a little ISR" and some capabilities for communications relay, and strike capabilities put off to a future version of the aircraft.[citation needed] In July 2016, it was officially named "MQ-25A Stingray" after being named RAQ-25A in the Navy previously.


The Pentagon apparently made this program change in order to address the Navy's expected fighter shortfall by directing funds to buy additional F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and accelerate purchases and development of the F-35C. Having the CBARS as the first carrier-based UAV provides a less complex bridge to the future F/A-XX, should it be an unmanned strike platform. It also addresses the carriers' need for an organic refueling aircraft, proposed as a mission for the UCLASS since 2014, freeing up the 20–30 percent of Super Hornets performing the mission in a more capable and cost effective manner than modifying the F-35, V-22 Osprey, and E-2D Hawkeye, or bringing the retired S-3 Viking back into service.


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On 19 December 2017, Boeing unveiled its prototype aircraft entrant derived from the Boeing Phantom Ray and its other unmanned aerial systems.[ The prototype was quietly rolled out in November 2014 during the PDR contract phase of the defunct UCLASS program. Boeing's MQ-25 design is not new for the tanking mission, but Boeing says that was considered when designing it.General Atomics proposed their Sea Avenger concept which is enlarged from its Predator-C/Avenger for refueling. The company stated that basing its MQ-25 design on Avenger reduces development time. Lockheed Martin has shown their Sea Ghost concept based on the RQ-170 Sentinel.


Boeing MQ-25 Stingray

The Boeing MQ-25 Stingray is an aerial refueling drone that resulted from the Carrier-Based Aerial-Refueling System (CBARS) program, which grew out of the earlier Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program. The MQ-25 first flew on 19 September 2019.

  • History

    Role Unmanned combat aerial vehicle

    National origin United States

    Manufacturer Boeing

    First flight 19 September 2019

    Status In development

    Primary user United States Navy

    Program cost US$804 million

  • Primary Users

    Boeing's MQ-25 design is powered by one Rolls-Royce AE 3007N turbofan engine delivering 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) of thrust; it is a variant of the engine used to power the Navy's MQ-4C Triton. The aircraft is less stealthy than flying wing UAVs. However, it still features a stealthy fuselage shaping, flush inlet to shield engine blades from radar and V-tail.

  • General Info

    Produced 2014–present

    Number built 49 as of November 2017

    Program cost airframe only: $1-1.8 billion, including engine development: $2-3B

    Unit cost

    737-7: US$92.2 million

    737-8: US$112.4 million

Boeing MQ-25 Stingray


The Boeing MQ-25 Stingray is an aerial refueling drone that resulted from the Carrier-Based Aerial-Refueling System (CBARS) program.


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