In September 2019, Boeing and the U.S. Navy successfully completed the first test flight of the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler. The MQ-25 test asset, known as T1, completed the autonomous flight under the direction of Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station. The aircraft completed an autonomous taxi and takeoff and then flew a pre-determined route. The test validated the aircraft’s basic flight functions and operations with the ground control station.
The MQ-25 will provide the Navy with a much-needed carrier-based unmanned aerial refueling capability, and will be built in Missouri.
In addition, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) has commissioned Boeing to study possible integrations to allow for maritime surveillance roles. The NGA is headquartered near Washington DC and in Missouri. More than 4,000 Missourians work for NGA, with an additional few thousand to be added in the coming years due to the US Government’s $1.7 billion investment in a new Missouri HQ.
“The flight of this test asset two years before our first MQ-25 arrives represents the first big step in a series of early learning opportunities that are helping us rapidly progress towards delivery of a game-changing capability for the carrier air wing and strike group commanders,” said the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation (PMA-268) Program Manager Capt. Chad Reed.
Boeing also produces the F/A-18, EA-18, F-15, T-7 and a large amount of munitions in Missouri.