General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is using an integrated fuel tank structure to maximize fuel offload for the proposed MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling aircraft for the U.S. Navy.
GA-ASI has developed integrated fuel tanks in a large-scale wing box test article and a full-scale wing skin pre-production validation article.
The wing box tested to failure via wing bending at GA-ASI’s Adelanto, Calif. structural test facility in November 2017. In April, the company verified the production readiness of the co-cured wing and tail components using both non-destructive and destructive inspections.
“The integral fuel tank wing box test article will reduce technical and schedule risk for the program,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “Specifically, through extensive validation of fuel containment sealing methods, advanced non-linear buckling finite element analysis models and thick composite laminate construction, we have accelerated engineering design consideration prior to the detail design phase and production.”
A full-scale inner-wing skin demonstration article built in March at GA-ASI’s Spanish Fork, Utah facility verified the MQ-25 tooling concepts, lamination approach, and processes. The team validated the outer mold line tooling approach for the build process which enables accelerated engineering and tooling fabrication for the MQ-25 program.
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Boeing unveiled Tuesday its entrant for US Navy's MQ-25 program, also known as the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS), designed to provide the navy with refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. The company announced in a press release that its unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations next year
Northrop Grumman has dropped out from the competition to produce the US Navys unmanned aerial tanker, the MQ-25A Stingray, the company's CEO announced Wednesday. Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman, was quoted as saying by Defense News during an October 25 earnings call that “the particular nature of that final RFP,” or request for proposals, triggered Northrop to withdraw from the competition, but did not further clarify what parts of the solicitation raised eyebrows
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