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A new Navy drone successfully refueled a fighter jet in midair on Friday — the first time a manned receiver aircraft has ever gotten gas from unmanned tanker — according to a press release.
The MQ-25 Stingray drone attached itself to a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet that took off from MidAmerica Airport in Illinois, the site of a Boeing test program for the drones, officials said.
The fighter jet pilot tailed the drone at the same speed until the vehicle was able to attach its probe-and-drogue system to the plane’s tank and pump it full of fuel from a pod under its wing, according to the release.
“This flight lays the foundation for integration into the carrier environment, allowing for greater capability toward manned-unmanned teaming concepts,” said Rear Adm. Brian Corey, the program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.
“MQ-25 will greatly increase the range and endurance of the future