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During recent air trials, a Boeing MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial vehicle refueled a Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye receiver aircraft for the first time.
The MQ-25A is designed to act primarily as an aerial refueling tanker, allowing other aircraft based on U.S. Navy carriers to fly longer and farther—and freeing up much-needed Super Hornet fighters from the same task.
The Stingray passed fuel to an E-2D airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) receiver aircraft flown by the US Navy’s (USN’s) Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-20.
This first contact for the Stingray unmanned tanker with an Advanced Hawkeye receiver aircraft came nearly three months after the first aerial refueling test was performed on 4 June with a Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet receiver. Both the Advanced Hawkeye and Super Hornet flights were conducted at operationally relevant speeds and altitudes, with both receiver aircraft performing maneuvers in close proximity to the Stingray, according to janes.com.
Previous Super Hornet refueling: