The US Navy has awarded an $805.3m engineering and manufacturing development contract to Boeing for the design and development of the newest MQ-25A Stingray aerial refueller.
Under the fixed-price-incentive-firm-target contract, the company will be responsible for the design, development, fabrication, test, supply and support of the new unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).
As part of the deal, Boeing will provide the US Navy with four MQ-25A Stingray refuelling aircraft, and will also carry out the integration of the aircraft into the carrier air wing for an initial operational capability by 2024.
Boeing Defense, Space and Security president and CEO Leanne Caret said: “As a company, we made an investment in both our team and in an unmanned aircraft system that meets the US Navy’s refuelling requirements.”
Once operational, the UAV will help increase the performance, efficiency and safety of the carrier air wing, while ensuring longer range and greater persistence tanking capability.
Work on the project will be carried out at the company’s St Louis site in Missouri, US.
US Navy Research, Development, and Acquisition assistant secretary James F Geurts said: “MQ-25A is a hallmark acquisition programme. This programme is a great example of how the acquisition and requirements communities work hand in hand to rapidly deliver capabilities to our sailors and marines in the fleet.”
Known as T1, the Boeing MQ-25A will be the first operational carrier-based unmanned refuelling aircraft which is expected to improve the use of the navy’s combat strike fighters by extending the range of deployed F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and F-35C aircraft.
Furthermore, the US Navy will be able to seamlessly integrate the unmanned aircraft with an aircraft carrier’s catapult, and launch and recovery systems.