Boeing Validates Software for Future Manned Unmanned Refueling Missions

ASIM, may 01

Boeing has made significant strides in advancing its manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) technology by testing it with a digital F/A-18 Super Hornet and MQ-25 Stingray. The successful testing indicates that the software is progressing well for potential future use by the U.S. Navy, with the capability to deploy the teaming feature on both F/A-18 Block II and III Super Hornets. Utilizing existing communications links on both platforms, a Boeing-led team conducted virtual demonstrations in a simulator lab, showcasing an F/A-18 pilot commanding an unmanned MQ-25 to perform refueling tasks, such as releasing a refueling drogue and refueling the Super Hornet.

The newly developed software represents an evolution of previous tests conducted by Boeing. By integrating hardware and datalinks already present on both aircraft platforms, the test teams have further validated Boeing’s readiness to deliver this capability to the Navy. With the ability for F/A-18 pilots to initiate commands directly from their cockpit, the software significantly reduces communication time between the aircraft, providing pilots with enhanced flexibility in refueling operations, particularly over longer distances. This advancement marks a significant step forward in aerial refueling technology, streamlining the process and enhancing safety and efficiency in MUM-T refueling operations.

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