Boeing Drone Refuels Aircraft In Flight For The 1st Time

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Boeing: For the first time in the US Air Force, a Vant (unmanned aerial vehicle) supplied an aircraft during a flight. The historic event took place during a test run on June 4th.

Boeing’s MQ-25 T1 drone was used to transfer fuel to the US Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet jet. Recently, the test result was presented in a short 30-second video:

“This historic event is a credit to our joint Boeing and Navy team who are committed to improving the MQ-25’s aerial refueling capability as quickly as possible,” said Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.

To conduct the test, the F/A-18 fighter pilot flew in close formation behind the drone to ensure stability before refueling. The maneuver required the ships to be at least twenty feet away.

By establishing the safe distance, the MQ-25 extended the fuel hose that was connected to the Air Force fighter. The ships were at operationally relevant altitude and speed when they performed aerial refueling.

According to Boeing, the historic event took place after 25 flights with the drone to test the aircraft models and aerodynamics during the process. As well, numerous simulations were performed using digital Vant models.