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The US Navy has modified the concept development contracts of the four aerospace companies competing to build the service’s MQ-25A Stingray aerial refueling UAV and added a total of $81.5 million to the development program. It is the U.S. Navy’s first drone refueling tanker.

In a series of contract awards, Naval Air System Command awarded to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems additional amounts of $24.8 million, $19.1 million, $18.9 million and $18.7 million, respectively, “to conduct additional risk reduction activities in support of the MQ-25 Unmanned Carrier Aviation Air System, including refinement of concepts and development of trade space for requirements generation in advance of the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the program,” according to the recent contract announcements.

In October, the companies were awarded the initial concept development risk-reduction contracts to the amounts of $43.7 million, $43.6 million, $43.4 million and $35.8 million for General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, respectfully.

According to, the Navy’s concept for its first carrier-based UAV has evolved over the last few years to a more limited mission set. The key performance parameters for the MQ-25 currently are the ability to refuel aircraft in flight and to operate from an aircraft carrier, although an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability could be added.