Two global heavyweights from the aerospace sector have entered the ring to clinch a naval contract with their refuelling drones offer.
It has been reported that Lockheed Martin, the American global aerospace, defence, security and advanced technologies company, has revealed concept images for its MQ-25 ‘Stingray’ design, an unmanned carrier-launched tanker plane.
According to Popular Mechanics, the refuelling drone will compete with Boeing and General Atomics to secure a contract with the US Navy to build a fleet of its aircrafts.
The unmanned system, which was designed by Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs, better known as Skunk Works, is currently being reviewed by the Navy, as well as a drone from Boeing’s Phantom Works, the T-1, and a Boeing Autonomous Systems and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ MQ-25 prototype.
While the unit is designed to meet the requirements of the Navy’s project, it has been reported that stealth was not one of the requirements of the programme. The publication reported: “[Lockheed Martin] is working toward the Navy’s requirements, and stealth is not one of them, but Lockheed “can absolutely rapidly integrate stealth into additional mission systems.”
“The tanker, however, is designed to carry gas, and the concept images from Lockheed show the aircraft flying with a fuel pod mounted on its belly.”