The Navy says aviation history was made in a test flight over the Midwest when an unmanned aircraft refueled another aircraft for the first time. The Navy tweeted video of the Friday flight, in which a Boeing MQ-25 Stingray drone refueled a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet in midair. Dave Bujold, Boeing's MQ-25 program director, said Monday that the drone transferred around 325 of the 500 pounds of fuel available, CBS News reports. A hose extended from the drone, which came as close as 20 feet to the Super Hornet, before what the Navy calls its "standard probe-and-drogue aerial refueling method."
The Navy says the MQ-25 is a "force multiplier" that gives it additional capacity by freeing up pilots currently conducting aerial refueling operations. "This flight lays the foundation for integration into the carrier environment, allowing for greater capability toward manned-unmanned teaming concepts," said Rear Adm. Brian Corey in a Navy press release. The Navy and Boeing plan more tests on an aircraft carrier later this year. (Read more Navy stories.)