Boeing has offered a sneak peak of its entry into the Navy's MQ-25 Drone Tanker competition.
Boeing is the second company to unveil a prototype after General Atomics revealed concept art and models in early October. The aircraft are built for refueling U.S. Navy jets that operate from aircraft carriers.
The Navy also wants the systems designed to be able to seamlessly integrate with the carrier's catapult and launch recovery systems.
The Navy could buy as many as 72 tanker drones, however, according to a report from The Drive, the Navy will only buy four prototypes of the winning design.
The Navy wants to make sure that the winning company can deliver on the program's specifications, especially after the trouble the it has had with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Boeing’s MQ-25 is now completing engine runs before it heads to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations next year. The unmanned aircraft, once operational, will extend the combat range of Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, as well as Lockheed Martin's F-35C fighters.
According to BD Gaddis, a retired admiral who is leading the refueling system program at Boeing's Phantom Works, Boeing has been working with the Navy for almost 90 years, so he's confident in the company’s solution.
Final proposals are due to the Navy by Jan. 3, 2018. The only company we're waiting on is Lockheed Martin.
Northrop Grumman withdrew from the competition unexpectedly in October 2017, because the company didn't believe that it could "put forward an attractive offer."
This is IEN Now with Jeff Reinke.