Military Factory logo
Icon of a dollar sign
Icon of military officer saluting
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle
Icon of navy warships

Boeing MQ-25 Stingray

Carrierbased Unmanned Tanker Aircraft Proposal

Boeing MQ-25 Stingray

Carrierbased Unmanned Tanker Aircraft Proposal

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



Boeing unveiled its MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker aircraft in a December 19th, 2017 press release.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 2024
STATUS: In-Development
MANUFACTURER(S): Boeing Phantomworks - USA
PRODUCTION: 1
OPERATORS: United States (possible)
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Boeing MQ-25 Stingray model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 0
LENGTH: 62.34 feet (19 meters)
WIDTH: 39.37 feet (12 meters)
HEIGHT: 11.48 feet (3.5 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 14,110 pounds (6,400 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 44,533 pounds (20,200 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Rolls-Royce AE3007 turbofan engine of unknown thrust output.
SPEED (MAX): 385 miles-per-hour (620 kilometers-per-hour; 335 knots)
RANGE: 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers; 2,160 nautical miles)
CEILING: 39,370 feet (12,000 meters; 7.46 miles)




ARMAMENT



None. Mission requirement solely consisting of fuel stores.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• MQ-25 "Stringray" - Base Series Designation
• T1 - Boeing Company designation of its sole prototype to date.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing MQ-25 Stingray Carrierbased Unmanned Tanker Aircraft Proposal.  Entry last updated on 8/31/2018. Authored by Dan Alex. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The MQ-25 "Stingray" is an ongoing United States Navy (USN) project drawn up to satisfy an unmanned aerial refueling tanker aircraft product for service aboard its large fleet of aircraft carriers. Program requirements include a minimum fuel load of 14,000lb and a fly-out range of 500 miles from the host ship. Current (2018) competitors in the Stingray program are Boeing, General Atomics and Lockheed Martin. Northrop Grumman bowed out of the running voluntarily in 2017 - it was to feature its high-profile X-47B carrier-based UAS in its submission. The USN hopes to field the Stingray at an operational level by the middle of the next decade (about 2025) with a formal selection planned for August of 2018. Boeing is also part of the General Atomics initiative to better help it secure the potentially lucrative MQ-25 contract.

The 2000s saw an explosion of Unmanned Air Systems (UASs) in the military sphere so it comes as no surprise that the United States Navy (USN) has since been seeking an unmanned aerial tanker for which to field on its various aircraft carrier decks. What originally began as the USN's "Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike" (UCLAS) program has now evolved to the "Carrier-Based Aerial-Refueling System" (CBARS). The product was officially designated as MQ-25 "Stingray" as of July 2016.

The Boeing submission is from its secretive "Phantomworks" branch and appears to have been influenced some by the company's earlier work on the UCLASS attack drone - that requirement, in fact, having being evolved by the USN to become the unmanned tanker project. The new air vehicle was debuted by Boeing via press release on December 19th, 2017 and showcases a blended wing-body design with swept-back mainplanes. The tailplanes consist of a pair of outward-canted surfaces. The undercarriage is of a wheeled tricycle arrangement for ground-running and each main leg carries a single wheel while the nose leg is reinforced with a double-wheeled configuration. The fuselage is well-rounded and streamlined though noticeably deep from the forward profile - designed to carry the needed avionics, powerplant(s) and fuel stores. Folding wings are assumed for the design as this is something of a prerequisite for carrier-based aircraft considering space restrictions and the like.

For carrier operations, the MQ-25 is required to navigate the crowded deck of an active aircraft carrier, moving from elevator-to-catapult for launch and deck-to-elevator upon its return from a mission. This requires a unique approach to its intelligence programming to accomplish. Additionally, the aircraft will be called to operate over water for most of its service life when servicing the various USN aircraft in play - presenting another set of challenges for engineers tied to the project. Beyond this, the usual naval aviation qualities are given the aircraft - a reinforced structure / understructure to handle the rigors of carrier life, special skin coatings to combat the salty sea environment, day-night operations capabilities, and an arrestor hook for carrier deck landings. All this on top of autonomous operation and a fuel delivery functionality when working alongside manned aircraft.




Boeing MQ-25 Stingray (Cont'd)

Carrierbased Unmanned Tanker Aircraft Proposal

Boeing MQ-25 Stingray (Cont'd)

Carrierbased Unmanned Tanker Aircraft Proposal



The Stingray is required to refuel all types of in-service USN aircraft (as well as the upcoming F-35C Lightning II) and marks a major stepping stone for the future of naval aviation - giving at-sea aircraft the capability to be quickly and efficiently refueled by an unmanned, autonomously-minded aircraft. Such aircraft will allow fuel-laden conversions, like those made to the F/A-18 E- and F-models, to be reworked back into their combat forms. Beyond their fuel-delivery capabilities, the MQ-25s are expected to have a secondary ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) role and carry radar for maritime operations in support of the main fleet.

With the induction of the Stingray into its ranks, the USN plans to retain its deep inventory of F/A-18 Super Hornets and the newly-arriving F-35 Lightning IIs for the strike role and no longer rely on manned aerial tankers built upon existing combat aircraft frameworks. The Stingray will be used to fuel, in-flight, the various in-service platforms of the USN including the above-mentioned types.

As it stands (December 2017), Boeing states that the MQ-25 is undergoing the final phases of its engine testing and conducting basic runs. Deck-handling demonstrations are scheduled for sometime in 2018. The USN deadline for submissions in the Stingray program was January 3rd, 2018. The service plans to procure some seventy-two unmanned MQ-25 Stingrays for active service aboard its carrier decks before the end.

The Boeing concept was partially unveiled in December of 2017 though it had been in existence since November of 2014 and born on paper in 2011. Captured images were then released in January of 2018 and official images followed in March of 2018. The Boeing MQ-25 prototype (known as the "T1") is currently (2018) undertaking carrier-suitability trials and has yet to complete its maiden flight as of this writing.

Performance and dimensions specifications on this page are estimated on the part of the author.




PROGRAM UPDATES

April 2018 - It was announced that Boeing has selected the Rolls-Royce AE3007 turbofan engine to power its MQ-25 aerial tanker UAV prototype.

August 2018 - The Boeing MQ-25 Stingray has been announced as the winner of the USN refueling drone project. The initial contract is for four air vehicles for testing. The USN expects the first air-worthy vehicle to be delivered in 2020 and a first-flight scheduled for 2021 - opening the path to service entry in the early part of 2024.
MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (385mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Boeing MQ-25 Stingray's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.