Rolls-Royce engines have been selected by Boeing to power the US Navy’s new MQ-25 Stingray aircraft, which will provide unmanned, carrier-based air-to-air refuelling.
The US Navy has awarded the MQ-25A engineering and manufacturing contract to Boeing to provide four aircraft. The MQ-25 is designed to provide the US Navy with a refuelling capability and extend the range of combat aircraft from carriers.
Each MQ-25 aircraft will be powered by a single Rolls-Royce AE 3007N engine, manufactured in Indianapolis, US.
The firm say that the AE 3007N, the latest variant of the Rolls-Royce AE family of engines, will provide more than 10,000 lbs of thrust and additional electrical power to the aircraft.
Jarrett Jones, Rolls-Royce, Executive Vice President, Customer Business, Government Relations and Sales, said:
“Congratulations to Boeing for being selected to develop this historic aircraft in support of the US Navy. For Rolls-Royce, it will expand our UAV expertise with unmanned aircraft in the US Navy fleet, which includes the Triton and Fire Scout aircraft.”
The Pentagon are pursuing the Stringray in order to address the US Navy’s expected fighter shortfall by directing funds to buy additional Super Hornets and accelerate purchases and development of the F-35C, quickly getting F-35Cs into production.
The use of Stringray as a tanker also addresses the carriers’ need for an organic refuelling aircraft, proposed as a mission for the craft since 2014, freeing up the 20-30 percent of Super Hornets performing the mission in a more capable and cost effective manner than modifying the F-35, V-22 Osprey, and E-2D Hawkeye, or bringing the retired S-3 Viking back into service.
Although initially designated the RAQ-25, the designation was changed to MQ-25 Stingray. Stealth requirements will reportedly be “descoped” and it will still be capable of firing missiles or dropping bombs from drop tank pylons, but surveillance and destroying targets will not be its main mission.