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General Atomics MQ-25 tanker UAV design revealed

General Atomics officially revealed its design for US Navy's MQ-25 Stingray program to field an aircraft carrier based unmanned tanking and ISR system.
The concept renderings are the same as earlier revealed by GA. The design…


General Atomics officially revealed its design for US Navy's MQ-25 Stingray program to field an aircraft carrier based unmanned tanking and ISR system.
The concept renderings are the same as earlier revealed by GA. The design is closer to the Sea Avenger concept developed for US Navy's canceled Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance And Strike (UCLASS) program, in turn based on GA's Predator C/Avenger UAV first flown in 2009.

Like the Lockheed Martin's flying wing concept, the General Atomics has also chosen a low risk path with no flying prototypes as of now.

Company plans to built flying prototype only after winning a contract, according to James Drew's exclusive report on Aviation Week.

The concept features a increased cross section fuselage to carry more internal fuel for its primary aerial refueling mission, with a new traditional business jet type swept wing with wingtip devices.



The air-frame even though based on GA's Avenger, has been heavily modified for the tanker and carrier operations. The fuselage and landing gear are strengthened to survive harsh carrier operations.

Carrier compatibility is ensured by using landing gear and tail hook from US Navy's carrier borne F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter.

To reduce deck footprint, the wing and V-tail can be folded up.

Owing to the increased MTOW requirement, the Stingray is powered by a higher thrust engine.

A larger dorsal engine air intake has been designed to feed the single Pratt & Whitney PW815 commercial turbofan engine rated at 16,000 lb thrust, more than three times that of Avenger's existing 4800 lb thrust PW545B engine.

Compared to Avenger's 18,200 lb (8,255 kg) max take off weight (MTOW), the MQ-25 requires to carry at least 15,000 lb (6800 kg) of fuel load to a range of up to 500 nmi (930 km).

Two underwing pylons are plumbed to carry a Cobham drogue and chute aerial refueling system and a fuel tank.

The tanker UAV will extend reach of US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, Growler and F-35C fighter by at least 200 nm.

The aircraft will carry an electro-optical sensor turret to perform long endurance ISR from the CVN.

GA's other industry partners for the program include, UTC Aerospace Systems supplying the landing gear, L3 Technologies for communications systems, BAE Systems for a variety of software capabilities, including mission planning and cybersecurity, Rockwell Collins for advanced navigation technologies, a new generation of the TruNet™ ARC-210 networked communications airborne radio and a comprehensive simulation framework and GKN Aerospace’s Fokker for the MQ-25 arresting hook.

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, which began testing its EMALS and AAG systems on the USS Ford at sea in 2016, provides up front carrier integration experience and risk reduction.