US Testing its Massive Next Generation Drones on Aircraft Carrier

Northrop Grumman-Boeing Combo

Northrop’s X-47B is a tail-less unmanned combat aerial vehicle with a 62-ft wingspan. The aircraft is powered by a Pratt & Whitney F-100 engine, enabling it to reach Mach 0.9 with a range of 2,400 miles.

Furthermore, it also has two weapon bays which provide room for up to 4,500lbs of payload. In 2015, the X-47B successfully executed the first autonomous aerial refueling with a KC-707 tanker.

In the future, we might see an X-47B getting refueled by an MQ-25 Stingray. Boeing’s fairly new aircraft is an aerial refueling drone that first flew in 2019. It is capable of delivering 15,000lbs of fuel to four to six planes at a range of 500 nautical miles.

Its first test was in 2019, transferring 325lbs of fuel to a Super Hornet. The first order of the Stingray is set to be fulfilled in 2024.


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