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Navy to Test Boeing-Built Unmanned Tanker Prototype Onboard George H. W. Bush Carrier

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The U.S. Navy has deployed its Boeing-built unmanned refueling tanker prototype to the USS George H. W. Bush aircraft carrier for at-sea testing, USNI News reported Thursday.

Rear Adm. Andrew Loiselle, Navy’s air warfare director, told the publication that the tests will help evaluate the MQ-25A Stingray-based T-1 prototype‘s performance in relevant flight deck wind conditions.

Upcoming activities with the T-1 will follow up overland exercises refueling three of the Navy’s fighter aircraft and, according to Loiselle, will help reduce risks with the tanker program.

The admiral described the unmanned prototype as an important part of the Navy’s efforts to expand the range of its operations, with an eye toward keeping up with the evolving threat environment in the Indo-Pacific region.

He suggested that T-1 could perform not just transport of around 15,000 pounds of fuel 500 miles away from a U.S. carrier but also other naval missions beyond the aircraft’s initial requirements such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance trips.

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