• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

MQ-25A Stingray

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
235
Points
710
SeaKingTacco said:
You might not want to advertise the position of your carrier by having a giant radar tgt orbiting 30k feet above it.

OK, point taken.  But even if you're not circling the dot at time of launch, setting up an aerial FRP in the near vicinity of the ingress and egress routes at a mutually beneficial time might not be impossible?
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
417
Points
880
The idea of a recovery tanker is only to give gas to aircraft that need it to get aboard.  Every mission is planned to come back with enough gas to go in the stack, hold, and Lamd (ok, a little more complex but you get the idea).  If there are other delays or you miss too many times, only then do you hit the tanker.  He passes 2-3000 lb at the time.  The Super Hornet does that job now (taking up way more space than a Stingray) and offloads around the same amount.  Some will say that you can use the SH in combat.  Sure, but you always need a tanker when jets get aboard and a Spare. 
 

MarkOttawa

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
43
Points
560
Latest from NorthrupGrumman:

Modified X-47B Breaks Cover As Testbed For MQ-25 Bid

Northrop Grumman is using an X-47B unmanned air vehicle (UAV) as a flying testbed for air refueling systems in support of its proposal for the U.S. Navy’s upcoming MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refueling tanker contest.

First details of Northrop Grumman’s preparations for the MQ-25A bid have emerged in photographs obtained by Aviation Week of a modified X-47B at the U.S. Air Force’s Plant 42 facility in Palmdale, Calif. The photos appear to show the UAV configured with a wing air refueling pod (WARP) under the left wing and a drop fuel tank under the right wing.

The aircraft also displays an aerial refueling probe over the right wing, which indicates this particular vehicle is likely AV-2/502, the second of two X-47Bs that flew in the Navy’s unmanned carrier air system demonstration (UCAS-D) program that wrapped up in 2015.

Though details are difficult to discern through the heat haze, the WARP appears similar to the Cobham 34” (inch) series which operates over an air speed range of 200 to 325 knots. The power for the system, which can transfer fuel at 400 US gal/min, is provided by a ram-air turbine, which is clearly visible on the nose of the WARP.

The pod under the right wing is thought to be a standard auxiliary fuel tank similar to the 330-gallon FPU-8 or 480-gallon FPU-11 drop tanks used by the F/A-18 Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet respectively. One photo also shows what appears to be an open access panel or possible housing for an electro-optical/IR sensor set in the upper fuselage above the centrally located engine inlet.

Little has been seen or heard about the X-47Bs—dubbed "Salty Dogs" by the Navy—since their departure from Naval Air Systems Command’s Patuxent Rover, Md., facility back to Palmdale in January and February this year...
nguas-palmdale1crop.jpg

http://aviationweek.com/awindefense/modified-x-47b-breaks-cover-testbed-mq-25-bid

Mark
Ottawa
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
417
Points
880
Just a slight correction, Salty Dogs is not specific to the X-47.  It is VX-23's radio callsigns, so all aircraft from VX-23 use the "Salty Dog" callsign; Hornets, Rhinos, Growlers, Prowlers, T-45s, JSF and X-47s.
 

MarkOttawa

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
43
Points
560
Hmm:

Northrop pulls out of MQ-25 drone competition

Northrop Grumman will not put forward a bid for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 unmanned tanker aircraft, its CEO announced Wednesday.

While the specific reasoning underpinning the decision was not fully explained, it appears the Navy’s final request for proposals — released earlier this month — raised questions among executives who worried that Northrop would be unable to develop a UAV that met specifications and still delivered profit for the company.

“When we’re looking at one of these opportunities, let me be clear: Our objective is not just to win. Winning is great, it feels good on the day of an announcement, but if you can’t really execute on it and deliver on it to your customer and your shareholders, then you’ve done the wrong thing,” Northrop head Wes Bush said during an Oct. 25 earnings call.

"And we’ve worked hard over a long number of years in our company to have great clarity around what our objectives are,” he said. “When you’re entrusted by the U.S. or any one of our allied nations to do something in the defense arena, that’s a bond of trust that you can’t afford to break, and we really look hard at executability under the terms of RFPs that come out to make sure that we can execute.”

Later in the call, Bush said that “the particular nature of that final RFP,” or request for proposals, triggered Northrop to withdraw from the competition, but did not further clarify what parts of the solicitation raised eyebrows.

Financial analysts on the call quickly picked up that this is the third “no-bid” by Northrop this year for a major defense acquisition program, after earlier decisions to abstain from the Air Force’s T-X training aircraft competition — which saw the company developing and flying a prototype aircraft — and the Long Range Standoff Weapon.

Northrop’s exit from the MQ-25 program comes as a shock to the defense industry, as the company was once considered the likely front-runner for the program that evolved into MQ-25, called Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike, or UCLASS.

...the UCLASS program stagnated due to repeated delays and reviews. Two years ago, the Navy announced that, instead of UCLASS, it was looking for an unmanned aerial refueling tanker that could extend the reach of the carrier air wing and ease the burden on its fleet of F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Hornets are routinely used to tank other aircraft, so adding an unmanned tanker would, according to the Navy, free those aircraft up for other missions. The Navy’s Air Boss Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker said in August that the MQ-25 would extend the range of the service’s strike arm by 300-400 miles.

Northrop’s decision leaves Boeing, General Atomics and Lockheed Martin in competition for the MQ-25 contract [emphasis added]...
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2017/10/25/northrop-pulls-out-of-mq-25-drone-competition/

Mark
Ottawa




 

MarkOttawa

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
43
Points
560
And the winner is...Boeing:

Navy Picks Boeing to Build MQ-25A Stingray Carrier-Based Drone

Boeing will build the first unmanned aircraft to be a permanent part of the U.S. Navy’s carrier air wing, according to a Thursday Pentagon contract announcement.

Under the $805 million contract, Boeing will “provide the design, development, fabrication, test, verification, certification, delivery, and support of four MQ-25A unmanned air vehicles, including integration into the carrier air wing to provide an initial operational capability to the Navy.”

The Navy plans for the first four Stingrays to achieve initial operational capability on carrier decks in 2024.

The new tanker could double the strike range of the carrier air wing, with the MQ-25A delivering up to 15,000 pounds of fuel at 500 nautical miles. The contract award comes as the Navy is struggling to keep up the readiness of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fleet, which also serves as a tanker for the air wing. Anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of Super Hornet flight hours are devoted to aerial refueling operations, and cutting those hours is part of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson’s drive to get MQ-25s to the fleet.

“[Richardson’s] number-one priority is the schedule. Price is number two. He wants this airplane out there quickly,” Boeing MQ-25A program manager and former Navy program executive officer for tactical aircraft B.D. Gaddis told reporters in April...

Lockheed Martin and General Atomics had also submitted bids for the MQ-25A work. Northrop Grumman pulled out of the competition in October.

The award marks the end of a dozen years of requirements churn in how the service would introduce unmanned aircraft onto carrier flight decks. The final Stingray concept is more modest than the service’s vision for the first carrier UAVs in 2006.

Then, the Navy wanted a stealthy strike platform that could extend the lethal reach of the carrier air wing to hundreds of miles beyond the range of the current crop of aircraft and the physical limitations of pilots.

The service pursued development of an Unmanned Combat Air System that could carry the same internal payload as the then-under-development F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and penetrate enemy air defenses to strike targets thousands of miles from a carrier...

Based on a set of late 2012 requirements, Naval Air Systems Command worked on the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance oriented Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) until then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work undertook a comprehensive review of the Pentagon’s unmanned aircraft portfolio.

Following the review, the Navy announced what was the UCLASS program would be focused on solely the tanking mission as part of the Pentagon’s broader Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal...

MQ-25_high-res.jpg

Boeing’s MQ-25 unmanned aircraft system is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations next year. The aircraft is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. Boeing photo.

https://news.usni.org/2018/08/30/navy-picks-boeing-build-mq-25a-stingray-carrier-based-drone

Mark
Ottawa



 

CBH99

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
376
Points
860
Makes sense as Boeing already manufactures the very aircraft this system is designed to refuel, and has extensive work over the decades in building & servicing aircraft designed for carrier life, as well as integrating those systems with the fleet.  Although not the most up-to-date design they could have gone with, I think this was pretty obvious who the Navy was going to go with.  (Although to be fair, it wouldn't have surprised me if they had chosen the GA design either...I think Lockheed was out almost right from the start.)

We have to remember, unlike the USAF, the US Navy isn't the biggest fan of Lockheed products...
 

tomahawk6

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
60
Points
530
I think this will be a game changer for the USN.Tankers will be able to operate from amphibious ships and those of our allies. If USAF refuelers are unable to operate the USN could fill the role.
 

dimsum

Army.ca Fixture
Mentor
Reaction score
688
Points
940
tomahawk6 said:
I think this will be a game changer for the USN.Tankers will be able to operate from amphibious ships and those of our allies. If USAF refuelers are unable to operate the USN could fill the role.

It's a bit of a wild stab in the dark, but I can't see a fully-loaded MQ-25A not using a catapult.  I doubt those things would have V/STOL capability.
 

CBH99

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
376
Points
860
SupersonicMax said:
USN uses probe and drogue, USAF uses booms.  Not compatible.


For a military obsessed with joint operations, and aircraft from various services all flying over the same operating theatres - that seems like a silly problem to have? 

Is that an easily fixable problem?  Or not really, as most of the airframes in the inventory are a few decades old now, and perhaps this issue wasn't thought of at the time? 
 

tomahawk6

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
60
Points
530
Video of MQ-25.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=MQ-25&view=detail&mid=892760560A89A7A4DF41892760560A89A7A4DF41&FORM=VIRE
 

CBH99

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
376
Points
860
Love that little blue changing light on the front, and the green lights at night...it is a pretty neat looking UAV for sure.  Between that, the F-35C, the Block 3 Super Hornets, and the CV-22 Osprey taking over the C-2....the USN air fleet is looking pretty slick for sure
 

tomahawk6

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
60
Points
530
Side note the UAV has some F/18 components so repairs if needed can be performed.
 

brihard

Army.ca Fixture
Mentor
Reaction score
1,133
Points
890
CBH99 said:
Love that little blue changing light on the front, and the green lights at night...it is a pretty neat looking UAV for sure.  Between that, the F-35C, the Block 3 Super Hornets, and the CV-22 Osprey taking over the C-2....the USN air fleet is looking pretty slick for sure

Plus the new versions of the E-2 for AWACS. It looks like they’re quite an upgrade as well.
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
417
Points
880
CBH99 said:
For a military obsessed with joint operations, and aircraft from various services all flying over the same operating theatres - that seems like a silly problem to have? 

Is that an easily fixable problem?  Or not really, as most of the airframes in the inventory are a few decades old now, and perhaps this issue wasn't thought of at the time?

It’s not an easu fix and there are some very valid reasons for each service using their own concept.

Boom generally provides a much greater offload rate capacity (pounds per second) than probe and drogue.  When you have to refuel B-52s and B-1s this is important.

Boom also only fits on big tankers that don’t fit on carriers so USN can’t use that, hence the probe and drogue which is more compact but offers a limited offload rate capacity.
 

dimsum

Army.ca Fixture
Mentor
Reaction score
688
Points
940
tomahawk6 said:
Video of MQ-25.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=MQ-25&view=detail&mid=892760560A89A7A4DF41892760560A89A7A4DF41&FORM=VIRE

That's not the one that won though.  The Boeing contender won, not Lockheed.
 

dimsum

Army.ca Fixture
Mentor
Reaction score
688
Points
940
Resurrecting this thread instead of starting a new one.

Navy Establishes First Squadron To Operate Its Carrier-Based MQ-25 Stingray Tanker Drones

Effective today, the U.S. Navy has officially established the first squadron that will operate its future MQ-25 Stingray carrier-based unmanned tankers from Boeing. The service does not expect to begin test flying more refined MQ-25 prototypes from actual carriers until the end of next year, at the earliest. As such, this unit will be focused in the meantime on training personnel to be as ready as possible to operate and maintain those drones when they begin arriving in the coming years.

The Navy first began the formal processing of standing up Unmanned Carrier Launched Multi-Role Squadron 10, abbreviated VUQ-10, in August, according to an official internal notice. That document says the official establishment date is Oct. 1, 2020, and that the unit is located at Naval Base Ventura Country in California, which includes Naval Air Station Point Mugu. A detachment of Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19 (VUP-19), the Navy's first MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance drone unit, also calls Point Mugu home.

[More at link]

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/36859/navy-establishes-first-squadron-to-operate-its-carrier-based-mq-25-stingray-tanker-drones
 

Blackadder1916

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
293
Points
1,030
The USN has decided that the Stingray will be operated by Warrant Officers.


Navy Announces Aerial Vehicle Operator Warrant Officer Specialty
https://www.navy.mil/Press-Office/News-Stories/Article/2441013/navy-announces-aerial-vehicle-operator-warrant-officer-specialty/
09 December 2020

The Navy announced a new warrant officer specialty designator whose job will be to operate carrier-based MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial vehicles, which are expected to start appearing in fleet carrier air wings sometime in 2024.

The Navy announced a new warrant officer specialty designator whose job will be to operate carrier-based MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial vehicles, which are expected to start appearing in fleet carrier air wings sometime in 2024.

The establishment of the Aerial Vehicle Operator (AVO) warrant officer specialty became a reality Dec. 9 with Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite’s approval of the new designator, which was announced in NAVADMIN 315/20.

Over the next 6-10 years, the Navy will recruit, train and send to the fleet, a community of roughly 450 warrants in grades W-1 through W-5.

Those selected for the program will first complete Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. Upon graduation, they will be designated as Warrant Officer One and must complete basic flight training as well as advanced training on the MQ-25 aerial vehicle. Once complete with basic flight training, these officers will earn their own distinctive Navy "wings of gold" warfare device and be assigned the 737X designator.

"AVO's will start out operating the MQ-25 Stingray, the Navy's first carrier based unmanned aerial vehicle, which is expected to join the fleet with an initial operating capability in 2024," said Capt. Christopher Wood, aviation officer community manager at the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Millington, Tenn. 

The use of warrant officers as the primary operators of unmanned aerial vehicles came about because the expected career path they'll have as they move up the ranks will be as technical specialists who complete repetitive tours, which fits the Navy's model on how warrant grades are utilized.

"Unlike traditional Navy Chief Warrant Officer’s, the majority of these officers will be accessed much younger and trained along the lines of current Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers in the unrestricted designators," Wood said.

"However, Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers require assignments that progress in tactical and leadership scope to be competitive for promotion, while warrant officer AVO's will be technical specialists and spend their careers as operators."

Navy Recruiting Command will begin accepting applications for initial AVO accessions in fiscal year 2022. In addition to street-to-fleet warrants, enlisted Sailors will also be able to apply for the program, and potentially earn the 737X warrant officer designator.

"Currently, the plan is to grow the community from the ground up with Warrant Officer AVOs," Wood said.  "However, Naval Aviation will continue to evaluate the requirements of the program as it matures."

Commanding and executive officers, as well as department heads of MQ-25 squadrons, will be filled by aviators and flight officers administratively screened for those commands.

"During the first 4-5 years of the program, some MQ-25 AVOs will come from other Type/Model/Series as we build up the knowledge base, with the first 3-4 deployments having a mix of existing unrestricted line and new warrants making up the ready room."

And though right now the community will be focused on the MQ-25, in the future, warrant officer AVOs may also operate the MQ-4C Triton while on shore duty following their initial MQ-25 sea tour.  As the Navy's footprint in unmanned aerial vehicles increases, so could the scope of the AVO community. 
 

dimsum

Army.ca Fixture
Mentor
Reaction score
688
Points
940
Blackadder1916 said:
The USN has decided that the Stingray will be operated by Warrant Officers.


Navy Announces Aerial Vehicle Operator Warrant Officer Specialty
https://www.navy.mil/Press-Office/News-Stories/Article/2441013/navy-announces-aerial-vehicle-operator-warrant-officer-specialty/

Interesting, since they stopped the Flying Warrants program a few years ago to augment their Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers. 
 
Top