Cobham’s aerial refuelling store deployed during MQ-25 test flight

17 December 2020 (Last Updated December 17th, 2020 15:19)

Cobham Mission Systems has confirmed that Boeing’s MQ-25 test asset carried underwing mounted refuelling buddy store for the first time during a test flight.

Cobham’s aerial refuelling store deployed during MQ-25 test flight
MQ-25 is the first operational, carrier-based ‘unmanned aerial refueler’ built for the US Navy. Credit: Kevin Flynn.

Cobham Mission Systems has confirmed that Boeing’s MQ-25 test asset carried underwing mounted refuelling buddy store for the first time during a test flight.

Boeing’s MQ-25 test asset is known as T1.

Cobham Mission Systems noted that the test helped in the unmanned aircraft’s aerodynamics validation when carrying existing refuelling equipment.

MQ-25 is the first operational carrier-based ‘unmanned aerial refueler’ built for the US Navy.

The latest test marks a major milestone in the development of the MQ-25 aircraft.

The US Navy’s F/A-18 fighter fleet currently operates the same ‘Cobham 31-301 buddy store’.

Cobham Mission Systems business development and strategy senior vice-president Jason Apelquist said: “This marks a significant milestone for the development of unmanned aerial refuelling, and we are proud that Boeing’s MQ-25 test aircraft carried Cobham’s underwing mounted equipment on this test flight.

“It is encouraging to see how proven solutions are being leveraged to further new mission capability. We look forward to supporting next-generation technology and continue to work with our customers as a key partner to deliver the aerial refuelling solution of the future.”

The 2.5-hour test was conducted by Boeing test pilots who have been operating the flight from a ground control station at MidAmerica St Louis Airport.

According to Cobham Mission Systems, future flights will continue to test the aerodynamics of the fighter jet and the ‘31-301 Series Buddy Store’ at various flight envelope points.

Recently, Cobham Mission Systems was contracted to deliver pilot oxygen life support equipment for the new production deliveries of F/A-18 aircraft.