The US Navy’s Boeing MQ-25 Stingray tanker drone has now fueled the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft in the air. Earlier on June 4, 2021, this tanker drone did aerial refueling in F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. No other country in the world has made such a drone so far. Easy-to-operate from an aircraft carrier, this tanker will reduce the hassle of frequent landing and takeoff of fighter jets for drone fuel.
Aerial refueling on the F-35 on September 13
This feat was done on September 13 near MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Muscotta, Illinois. The effort was led by the Unmanned Carrier Aviation Program Office (PMA-268) with Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). The US Navy and Boeing teams were present to witness this rare event.
What are the benefits of drone refueling?
This will eliminate the need for fighter jets to land on aircraft carriers repeatedly for refueling. In fact, fighter planes are not able to use their full fuel capacity during flight from an aircraft carrier. In such a situation, fighter planes have to make frequent landings on aircraft carriers for fuel.
There will be fewer accidents on aircraft carriers
Taking off and landing on an aircraft carrier is considered a very risky job. In such a situation, with the help of this drone, now fighter planes can be fueled in the air itself. This is expected to greatly strengthen the FA 18 Super Hornet fleet of the US Navy. By avoiding frequent take-offs and landings, the chances of fighter planes crashing will also be reduced.
Air refueling done at different altitudes
In the second attempt, the aircraft reconnected the UAV’s fuel tube to the aerial refueling store pod. Then both the aircraft were flying at an altitude of 10000 feet above the ground. During this time the MQ-25 UAV supplied 300 pounds of fuel. Exactly the same feat was done at an altitude of 16000 feet. During this, the drone supplied 100 pounds of fuel to the fighter plane.