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If the US Navy isn’t careful, its new unmanned tanker drone could face a 3-year delay

WASHINGTON — The US Navy could face a three-year delay in testing of the MQ-25 Stingray carrier-based tanking drone if it doesn’t get its designated test ships through the required modernizations on time, a possibility the Navy said was remote.

Two carriers — Carl Vinson and George H.W. Bush — have limited windows to complete the installation of unmanned aircraft control stations, and if operational commitments intervene it could create significant issues for the program, according to Navy officials and a government watchdog report.

“Program officials stated that, among other things, the Navy’s potential inability to maintain its schedule commitments could require modifications to the contract that would impact the fixed-price terms,” the Government Accountability Office reported. “Specifically, the Navy faces limited flexibility to install MQ-25 control centers on aircraft carriers.

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