Tag Archives: Boeing

Mission with F-35C

The U.S. Navy and Boeing have used the MQ-25TM T1 test asset to refuel a U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II fighter jet for the first time, once again demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to achieve its primary aerial refueling mission.

MQ-25 Stingray
Boeing’s MQ-25 T1 test asset transfers fuel to a U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II fighter jet Sept. 13 during a flight-test mission. The U.S. Navy and Boeing have conducted three refueling flights in the past three months, including an F/A-18 Super Hornet and E-2D Hawkeye (Kevin Flynn photo)

This was the third refueling mission for the Boeing-owned test asset in just over three months, advancing the test program for the U.S. Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft. T1 refueled an F/A-18 Super Hornet in June and an E-2D Hawkeye in August.

«Every test flight with another Type/Model/Series aircraft gets us one step closer to rapidly delivering a fully mission-capable MQ-25 Stingray to the fleet», said Captain Chad Reed, the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. «Stingray’s unmatched refueling capability is going to increase the U.S. Navy’s power projection and provide operational flexibility to the Carrier Strike Group commanders».

During a test flight September 13, an F-35C Lightning II test pilot from the U.S. Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23) conducted a successful wake survey behind T1 to ensure performance and stability before making contact with T1’s aerial refueling drogue and receiving fuel.

«This flight was yet another physical demonstration of the maturity and stability of the MQ-25 Stingray aircraft design», said Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray program director. «Thanks to this latest mission in our accelerated test program, we are confident the MQ-25 Stingray aircraft we are building right now will meet the U.S. Navy’s primary requirement – delivering fuel safely to the carrier air wing».

The T1 flight test program began in September 2019 with the aircraft’s first flight. In the following two years, the test program completed more than 120 flight hours – gathering data on everything from aircraft performance to propulsion dynamics to structural loads and flutter testing for strength and stability.

MQ-25 Stingray is benefitting from the two years of early flight test data, which has been integrated back into its digital models to strengthen the digital thread connecting aircraft design to production to test to operations and sustainment. Boeing is currently manufacturing the first two MQ-25 Stingray test aircraft.

T1 will be used to conduct a deck handling demonstration aboard a U.S. Navy carrier in the coming months to help advance the carrier integration progress.

Assault Aircraft

On September 7, 2021 the Sikorsky-Boeing team released the following statement on the early submittal of the proposal for DEFIANT X for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).

DEFIANT X
DEFIANT X is a helicopter that offers high-speed performance while retaining traditional helicopter agility and maneuverability, delivering more combat power on the objective than other proposals for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft. While operating in the same footprint as the BLACK HAWK, DEFIANT X delivers transformational capability and affordability – including efficient sustainment, advanced manufacturing techniques and minimized training time and costs (Image courtesy Sikorsky and Boeing)

This statement can be attributed to Paul Lemmo, president, Sikorsky, and to Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager, Vertical Lift, Boeing Defense, Space & Security:

«Continuing a 75-year partnership with the U.S. Army, providing and sustaining the iconic BLACK HAWK, Chinook and Apache, the Sikorsky-Boeing team looks to the future with the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft – DEFIANT X. Today, Team DEFIANT completed and submitted the proposal for the U.S. Army’s FLRAA competition, offering low-risk, transformational capability that delivers on an Army critical modernization priority and advances the future of Army aviation. DEFIANT X delivers speed where it matters, survivability, unsurpassed power, maneuverability, superior handling in any environment and lower lifecycle costs – while operating in the same footprint as the BLACK HAWK. We are confident that DEFIANT X, supported by our longstanding Army industrial base suppliers, is the best choice for delivering overmatch on the Multi-Domain Operational battlefield in United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) and across the globe».

Rollout ceremony

Boeing, in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF), celebrated the naming and rollout of Qatar’s advanced F-15, the F-15QA Strike Eagle.

F-15QA Strike Eagle
Boeing Unveils F-15 Qatar Advanced Jets

«The rollout of the F-15QA Strike Eagle is momentous, not just in terms of capability but also in terms of the enhanced partnership it represents. The relationship the United States shares with Qatar is critical to the stability and security of the central command area of responsibility, and we are grateful for our coalition partner’s continued focus on building interoperability and combined readiness», said Lieutenant General Greg Guillot, commander of 9th Air Force. «It is a privilege and honor to stand with our Qatari counterparts this day and every day».

The first set of F-15QA Strike Eagle jets will ferry to Qatar later this year following the completion of pre-delivery pilot training.

«The Qatar F-15QA Strike Eagle program further enhanced next-generation technologies in the advanced F-15 such as the fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-glass digital cockpit and contemporary sensors, radar and electronic warfare capabilities», said Prat Kumar, vice president of the F-15 program. «Driven by digital engineering and advanced manufacturing, these aircraft represent a transformational leap for the F-15. The F-15QA Strike Eagle will enhance the superiority of the QEAF with more speed, range and payload than any fighter in the world».

Boeing has been providing maintenance and logistics support for the QEAF during pre-delivery pilot training, which began earlier this year. In addition, Boeing will establish and operate an aircrew and maintenance training center for the QEAF at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar through 2024 while also providing in-country spares and logistics support once aircraft are delivered.

«Boeing is proud to provide a holistic solution to our valued Qatari customer through tailored training and sustainment», said Torbjorn «Turbo» Sjogren, vice president of International Government & Defence for Boeing. «We look forward to our continued partnership with Qatar and further supporting their mission readiness needs».

Tanker for Japan

The first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker built for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) recently refueled another KC-46A Pegasus aircraft in the skies over Washington state. The Japan-bound tanker also successfully received fuel in return.

KC-46 Pegasus
The Japan-bound tanker recently refueled another KC-46A Pegasus in the skies over Washington state (Kevin Flynn photo)

«Refueling with the first Japan KC-46A Pegasus is an important milestone for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force», said Jamie Burgess, KC-46 Pegasus program manager. «KC-46A Pegasus is the world’s most advanced air refueling aircraft and has already transferred more than 42 million gallons of fuel to other aircraft globally through its boom and drogue systems».

Japan is the KC-46 Pegasus program’s first non-U.S. customer and is scheduled to receive its first aircraft this year.

«State-of-the-art refueling makes the KC-46A Pegasus a standout, but this tanker goes well beyond that», said Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan. «The ability to carry cargo and passengers while maintaining tactical situational awareness makes the aircraft a critical tool in the security alliance between the U.S. and Japan».

The Japan KC-46A Pegasus is capable of refueling U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and JASDF aircraft.

The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a contract for the JASDF’s first KC-46A Pegasus tanker in December 2017. The agreement was completed through the Foreign Military Sale process between the U.S. government and Japan. A second Japan tanker is already in production.

Boeing is assembling the KC-46A Pegasus aircraft for both the U.S. Air Force and Japan on its 767 production line in Everett, Washington. Boeing’s Japanese partners produce 16% of the KC-46A Pegasus airframe structure.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs./275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs./188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs./140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs./96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs./94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs./29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

Stingray and Hawkeye

The U.S. Navy and Boeing have completed a second carrier-based aircraft unmanned refueling mission with the Boeing-owned MQ-25TM T1 test asset, this time refueling a Navy E-2D Hawkeye command and control aircraft.

MQ-25 Stingray
Boeing’s MQ-25 T1 test asset refuels a U.S. Navy E-2D Hawkeye command and control aircraft August 18 during a flight test mission conducted from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. The flight followed the historic June 4 refueling of a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, the first time an unmanned aircraft had refueled another aircraft (Credit: Kate Lowry)

During a test flight from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport on August 18, pilots from the U.S. Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-20 conducted a successful wake survey behind MQ-25 T1 to ensure performance and stability before making contact with T1’s aerial refueling drogue. The E-2D Hawkeye received fuel from T1’s aerial refueling store during the flight.

«Once operational the MQ-25 Stingray will refuel every receiver-capable platform, including E-2D Hawkeye», said Captain Chad Reed, the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. «This flight keeps us on a fast track to getting the Stingray out to the fleet where its refueling capability will greatly increase the range and operational flexibility of the carrier air wing and strike group».

The MQ-25 Stingray will be assigned to the carrier airborne early warning squadron within the carrier air wing, which currently operates the E-2 C/D Hawkeye aircraft – known as the «digital quarterback» of the fleet for its role in joint battle management and command and control.

«It was another great flight showing that our MQ-25 Stingray design is performing to plan», said Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray program director. «These historic refueling flights provide an incredible amount of data we feed back into the MQ-25 Stingray digital models to ensure the aircraft we’re producing will be the U.S. Navy’s game-changer for the carrier air wing».

This is the second aerial refueling mission the MQ-25 Stingray team has conducted this summer. On June 4, the MQ-25 T1 test asset became the first unmanned aircraft to refuel another aircraft, a U.S. Navy Super Hornet. Both flights were conducted at operationally relevant speeds and altitudes, with the E-2D Hawkeye and F/A-18 Super Hornet performing maneuvers in close proximity to MQ-25 T1.

Boeing is currently manufacturing the first two of seven MQ-25 Stingray test aircraft and two ground test articles currently under contract. The Boeing-owned MQ-25 T1 test asset is a predecessor to these aircraft. The MQ-25 Stingray is leveraging advancements in model-based digital engineering and design, and ongoing flights are intended to test aircraft design and performance much earlier than traditional programs.

Maiden Flight

The first of five Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft for Norway performed its maiden flight yesterday, August 9. The aircraft took off at 10:03 a.m. Pacific time and flew for 2 hours, 24 minutes, reaching a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet/12,497 m during the flight from Renton Municipal Airport to Boeing Field in Seattle.

P-8A Poseidon
Norway’s First P-8A Poseidon Performs Maiden Flight

The first flight marks the next phase of the production cycle of this aircraft as it is moved to the Installation and Checkout facility, where mission systems will be installed and additional testing will take place before final delivery to the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) later this year.

«This inaugural flight is an important milestone for Norway, and the Boeing team remains committed to delivering the P-8 Poseidon fleet to the NDMA on schedule», said Christian Thomsen, P-8 Poseidon Europe program manager. «The P-8 Poseidon is a capability that will help Norway improve anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and search-and-rescue missions, in addition to fostering valuable regional collaboration and interoperability with NATO nations».

The five P-8As will eventually replace Norway’s current fleet of six P-3 Orions and three DA-20 Jet Falcons. The Royal Norwegian Air Force currently operates its P-3s from Andoya Air Station. With the introduction of the P-8s, flight operations will move to new facilities at Evenes Air Station.

To date, Boeing has delivered 136 P-8 Poseidon aircraft to the U.S. Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Indian Navy and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. Norway is one of eight nations that have selected the P-8A Poseidon as their maritime patrol aircraft, along with the United States, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Korea, New Zealand and Germany.

 

Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs./12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,497 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs./85,820 kg

 

10th P-8I Poseidon

Boeing is continuing to expand the Indian Navy’s long-range maritime reconnaissance anti-submarine warfare capabilities with the delivery of the country’s 10th P-8I Poseidon. The patrol aircraft is an integral part of the Indian Navy’s fleet and has surpassed 30,000 flight hours since it was inducted in 2013.

P-8I Poseidon
Indian Navy Expands Maritime Reconnaissance Capabilities with Delivery of 10th P-8I Poseidon

This is the second aircraft to be delivered under an option contract for four additional aircraft that the Indian Ministry of Defence awarded in 2016. The Indian Navy was the first international customer for the P-8 Poseidon, which is also operated by the U.S. Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.

In addition to unmatched maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the P-8I Poseidon has been deployed to assist during disaster relief and humanitarian missions.

Boeing supports India’s growing P-8I Poseidon fleet by providing training of Indian Navy flight crews, spare parts, ground support equipment and field service representative support. Boeing’s integrated logistics support has enabled a high state of fleet readiness at the lowest possible cost.

Boeing is currently completing construction on the Training Support & Data Handling Centre at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu and a secondary maintenance training center at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, Kochi, Kerala as part of a training and support package contract signed in 2019. This new indigenous, ground-based training will allow Indian Navy crew to increase mission proficiency in a shorter time while reducing on-aircraft training time resulting in increased aircraft availability.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity.

 

Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs./12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,496 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs./85,820 kg

 

Norwegian Poseidon

The first P-8A Poseidon aircraft for Norway on July 9, 2021 rolled out of the paint shop in Renton, in Royal Norwegian Air Force livery. Norway is one of eight nations to have acquired the P-8A Poseidon as their new multimission maritime patrol aircraft.

P-8A Poseidon
Norway’s First P-8A Poseidon Rolls Out of the Paint Shop

Recently, the air force revealed the names of its five P-8A Poseidon aircraft: Vingtor, Viking, Ulabrand, Hugin and Munin. The names are inspired by Norse mythology and continue a tradition of almost 80 years that started when the names Vingtor, Viking and Ulabrand were used on Norway’s PBY-5 Catalina maritime patrol aircraft in 1942. Since then, other maritime patrol aircraft operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force have carried those names, including its current P-3 Orion fleet, which will be replaced by the P-8 Poseidon.

Norway’s first P-8A Poseidon aircraft – Vingtor – will now return to the factory floor to be prepared for flight testing. First flight is scheduled for later this month, and mission systems will be installed on the aircraft after that.

 

Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs./12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,496 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs./85,820 kg

 

Intrepid Tiger II

The U.S. Marine Corps’ newest Intrepid Tiger II (IT II) Electronic Warfare (EW) capability flew for the first time on an MV-22B Osprey June 15.

MV-22B Osprey
The MV-22B Osprey flies for the first time June 15 with the latest Intrepid Tiger II (V)4 (IT II) Electronic Warfare payload. This marked the start of developmental flight testing for IT II (V)4 and the first time the payload is mounted internally on an aircraft (U.S. Navy photo)

«The significance of this developmental test flight was two-fold», said U.S. Navy Captain Michael Orr, Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Systems (PMA-234) program manager. «Not only was this the first time we’ve integrated the Intrepid Tiger II capability onto an Osprey but also the first time the capability has been incorporated internal to a platform».

PMA-234 Marine Air-Ground Task Force EW Team Lead Bill Mellen said the typical, externally mounted pod was not an option because the MV-22B Osprey tilt rotor aircraft does not have traditional wing stations from which to mount podded payloads. The AN/ALQ-231(V)4 IT II system’s upgraded design consists of a roll-on/roll-off rack-mounted payload, controlled from a laptop in the aircraft cabin.

The IT II is a precision, on-demand, EW weapon system designed to provide Marine Corps fixed and rotary wing aircraft with an organic, distributed, and networked EW payload that can be controlled from the cockpit or by a ground operator.

The (V)4 system design will include state-of-the art upgrades, utilizing government and commercial-off-the-shelf technologies and jammer techniques that will allow the Marine Corps to keep pace with the ever-evolving threats on the battlefield, and provide the needed adaptability to allow for future iterations of expanded frequency coverage and advanced capabilities, said Mellen.

«As the 21st Century Battlespace becomes more complex and more contested, military assets must support themselves across the entire spectrum of threats», said U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Brian Taylor, MV-22B Osprey Joint Program Office program manager. «The fielding of this upgrade provides a significant and incremental improvement in the V-22’s organic electronic warfare capability, providing commanders more options to support our Marine Corps ground forces. This improves both operational safety to our aircrews and operational success to the commander, our ultimate goals in everything we do».

Following successful integration on the MV-22B Osprey, the IT II team will further expand the V4 design to include a counter-radar capability on the KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, hoping to leverage much of the MV-22B Osprey technology, including the in-cabin rack-mounted payload design, Mellen said.

The IT II (V)4 is scheduled to begin fleet deliveries for the MV-22B Osprey in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 to achieve Initial Operating Capability by the end of FY24 with an inventory objective of 42 total systems.

The IT II (V)1 is flown on the AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 A++/C/D Hornets, and KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, while the IT II (V)3 is flown on the UH-1Y Huey helicopter.

AEA Systems Program Office is responsible for acquiring, delivering, and sustaining AEA systems that provides combatant commanders with EW capabilities that are critical to operational mission success.

Aerial refueling mission

For the first time in history, the U.S. Navy and Boeing have demonstrated air-to-air refueling using an unmanned aircraft – the Boeing-owned MQ-25 T1 test asset – to refuel another aircraft.

MQ-25 T1
The Boeing MQ-25 T1 test asset transfers fuel to a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet on June 4, marking the first time in history that an unmanned aircraft has refueled another aircraft. The MQ-25 Stingray will assume the carrier-based tanking role currently performed by F/A-18s, allowing for better use of the combat strike fighters and helping extend the range of the carrier air wing (Photo by Kevin Flynn)

During a test flight June 4, MQ-25 T1 successfully extended the hose and drogue from its U.S. Navy-issued Aerial Refueling Store (ARS) and safely transferred jet fuel to a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, demonstrating the MQ-25 Stingray’s ability to carry out its primary aerial refueling mission.

«This team of professionals was integral in the successful flight», said Rear Adm. Brian Corey, who oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. «Over the next few years, we will work side-by-side with Boeing to deliver this capability that will greatly enhance the future carrier air wing».

«This history-making event is a credit to our joint Boeing and Navy team that is all-in on delivering MQ-25’s critical aerial refueling capability to the fleet as soon as possible», said Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. «Their work is the driving force behind the safe and secure integration of unmanned systems in the immediate future of defense operations».

During the initial part of the flight, the F/A-18 test pilot flew in close formation behind MQ-25 to ensure performance and stability prior to refueling – a maneuver that required as little as 20 feet of separation between the MQ-25 T1 air vehicle and the F/A-18 refueling probe. Both aircraft were flying at operationally relevant speeds and altitudes. With the evaluation safely completed, the MQ-25 drogue was extended, and the F/A-18 pilot moved in to «plug» with the unmanned aircraft and receive the scheduled fuel offload.

The milestone comes after 25 T1 flights, testing both aircraft and ARS aerodynamics across the flight envelope, as well as extensive simulations of aerial refueling using MQ-25 digital models. MQ-25 T1 will continue flight testing prior to being shipped to Norfolk, Virginia, for deck handling trials aboard a U.S. Navy carrier later this year.

The Boeing-owned T1 test asset is a predecessor to the seven test aircraft Boeing is manufacturing under a 2018 contract award. The MQ-25 will assume the tanking role currently performed by F/A-18s, allowing for better use of the combat strike fighters and helping extend the range of the carrier air wing.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As the top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.

MQ-25 is a trademark of the Department of the Navy.