Contract Imminent for Unmanned Carrier-Based Tanker Program

A program that could revolutionize maritime warfare is about to enter its next phase as the Navy moves to launch unmanned tankers off of aircraft carriers within the next decade.

Once fielded, the MQ-25 Stingray will provide the service with a ?robust, organic refueling capability to make better use of Navy combat strike fighters and extend the range of the carrier air wing with an increased fuel offload capability,? Capt. Chad Reed, unmanned carrier aviation program manager told National Defense in an email.

Naval Air Systems Command is expected to award a fixed-price engineering, manufacturing and development contract to one of three competitors for the program ? Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems or Lockheed Martin ? by the end of this summer, less than a year after proposals were submitted.