Boeing Just Unveiled an Unmanned Aircraft That Can Refuel Fighter Jets Midair

Boeing has unveiled a plane that will be able to resupply Navy jets as they are still in flight. The impressive aircraft will be delivered early next year.
Donovan Alexander

Like something out of the latest Star Wars film, Boeing just revealed a plane that can refuel fighter jets midair, being the first of its kind. The news comes on the heels of a somewhat turbulent two years for the aircraft and weapons company.  

Take Flight with Boeing

Since 1916, the Boeing company has been making the impossible possible, and they continued with that theme today with their latest aircraft. The unnamed aircraft is able to assist and refuel the U.S. jets in the air as they are flying, to extend there range.


This past October, the Navy issued a request for proposal that included the unmanned planes with refueling capabilities. The unmanned plane revealed today is part of an answer to that proposal. For those who do not know, the Navy usually puts out a request like this every few years and the aircraft showcased to fill the order are part of what is called, the MQ-25 competition. Competing also for the Navy's business will be Lockheed Martin, and General Atomics. Other major aircraft and weapons manufacturer Northrop Grumman was invited to the bid but dropped out of the race early this fall. 

The stingray looking aircraft is currently in the process of completing engine tests and is expected to put on a full demonstration early next year. The plane will be able to refuel Navy combat planes like F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. The unmanned aircraft will be able to deliver on average a whopping 15,000 of fuel "500 nautical miles out from an aircraft carrier", giving combat jets an extra 300-400 miles of range.

The perfect addition to the Navy's already impressive arsenal. Don 'BD' Gaddis, a retired admiral who leads the refueling system program for Boeing’s Phantom Works technology organization, seems to be very confident about the capabilities of the plane and being able to deliver something special to the Navy team. In a statement from The Boeing Company, Gaddis stated that “Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years,” and continues to say, "Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded". 

The Boeing Company

Since their first wooden aircraft of mid-1916, the Boeing company have strived to create aircraft that push humanity forward. Fast forward to the millennia, and the Boeing Company is one of the world's largest manufacturers of not only commercial aircraft but also of weapon across the world. What do you think of Boeing's new unmanned plane? 

Via: GeekWire, Boeing

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