Boeing Introduces U.S. Navy Tanker Drone

On December 19, 2017, Boeing unveiled its prototype in the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker drone competition. Boeing’s prototype will compete with entries from Lockheed-Martin and General Atomics. This aircraft will be carrier-based and is expected to have a 15,000lb payload of off-loadable fuel (around 2,300 gallons).

It’s appears to have stealth characteristics designed in, which will make it a nice compliment to the F-35B/C Lightning fighters it will be refueling. It doesn’t make much sense to send stealth fighters off to battle accompanied by refueling tankers that betray the squadron’s position with barndoor-sized RCS signatures!

On the flip side, however, 2,300 gallons isn’t a whole lot of gas for a thirsty squadron of fighter jets! It’ll be interesting to watch this procurement dance play out.