Contractors will have to determine sweet spot between ISR and tanking for MQ-25A

Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander, Naval Air Forces, was recently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and he said defense contractors competing in the MQ-25A program will have to find the sweet spot between supporting mission tanking and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

US Navy's X-47B, AV-2, Bureau # 168064, of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23), conduct Air-to-Air Refueling (AAR) over the Chesapeake Bay on 16 April 2015.  VX-23 is part of the Naval Test Wing Atlantic in Naval Air Station Patuxent River,
Photo: U.S. Navy

While an aircraft designed for ISR work requires high endurance and large wingspan, a mission tanker would need to carry large amount of fuel, these two criteria called for different approaches.

Shoemaker also hinted that the MQ-25A need not be a stealthy aircraft.

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