MQ-25 US Navy Stingray Program

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weasel1962

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 10:48

Thanks for the feedback. Decided to go back to basics and read up the rationale for the MQ-25.

http://www.ga-asi.com/MQ-25
https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/686963.pdf

The general atomics site explains it clearly (although the links stink cos everytime a link is clicked, need to click back as there is no link back to the original pg).

Basically the navy's intent is for the MQ-25 is to get the F-18 out of the tanking business.

What the GAO report confirms is that the intent is to operate the MQ-25 in permissive airspace i.e. stealth is not a priority. Stealth would be a mission creep in that sense (although a logical one since why not have a tanker that can operate in contested airspace?).
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element1loop

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 11:51

Say you have invested heavily in becoming skilled and competitive in cheap LO aircraft design and manufacture plus missile airframes, etc., so if you are bidding to build (anything) would you not use those skills and techniques to remain current and competitive?

You have to, because you competitors sure will build in LO tec as cheaply as they can, to remain proficient and price competitive in LO.

In the 1980s people talked about carbon fibre as a sort of nudge-nudge-wink-wink 'stealth technology'. Now it's airliners and GA aircraft tech.

Point is, what you build with you keep building with, to keep good at it, and doing it cheaper each time And you do need to be price competitive, so why not get good at cheap LO structures and shapes, on an MQ-25, at every opportunity? Sure, it's 'cheap' LO, but the designs are both trying to wring out as much cheap LO as possible for the bucks.
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rheonomic

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Unread post28 Mar 2018, 01:02

The requirements say nothing about LO. This program is essentially a cost shootout (it's also fixed price, so that increases risk for the contractor). So, you keep everything as close to TRL9 as you can, reuse stuff, and design to the requirements. LO is more expensive than non-LO, so if the customer doesn't want LO, you don't go LO. Sure, keep an upgrade path open for continued development (e.g. MQ-25B), but don't propose it initially.

Go find some YF-23 engineers and ask them how designing to the requirements they thought the customer had rather than the actual customer requirements turns out.
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Dragon029

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Unread post02 Apr 2018, 13:35

http://aviationweek.com/defense/general ... vals-mq-25

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So General Atomics have developed a derivative of the Avenger for their MQ-25 proposal.

It uses a 16,000lbf PW815 and while they're not building a full prototype at this time, they have built an engine test stand featuring their MQ-25 intake and exhaust to verify models and performance figures.

More importantly, they claim that it surpasses the Navy's range and fuel offload objective requirements, they've performed deck handling demonstrations using a company-owned Avenger, they have a gesture-recognition technology for automated deck manoeuvring, they're using MQ-9 and Avenger software & subsystems for risk reduction and they're partnered with Boeing Autonomous Systems which builds the ScanEagle (and is operating in isolation to the Phantom Works team), as well as P&W, UTC, Fokker, L3, BAE Systems and Rockwell Collins. GA also claims they can work more rapidly than the 'big company' LM & Boeing competitors (being able to beat the Navy's objective delivery schedule), although I'm not sure that applies when they're actually competing with Skunk Works and Phantom Works.

Overall looks like a less-fancy but pretty solid competitor; I'm not surprised that Boeing's hedging their bets on General Atomics.
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southernphantom

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Unread post02 Apr 2018, 17:37

If looks won competitions, I'd give it to GA. That is a very nice-looking aircraft, and I suspect it will have a lot of room for growth.
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element1loop

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Unread post03 Apr 2018, 04:56

However, only Boeing have something tangible that's ready to be refined, flown and proven. It's well ahead, if the USN accelerates its schedule.
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Unread post03 Apr 2018, 07:11

On the flip side, the issue with Boeing having a prototype now though is that it's still a modification of a UCLASS prototype, so if they want to not make too many design changes they could potentially have some stealth baggage that adds cost to their design and potentially some unnecessary risk like that recessed intake.
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Unread post03 Apr 2018, 07:26

The GA having a second pod may be unnecessary, but a welcome addition for pilots to know there's a backup. A go, no-go item.
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Unread post03 Apr 2018, 15:54


Who Has Advantage In U.S. Navy MQ-25 Competition?

Apr 3, 2018 James Drew

Aviation Week & Space Technology

The MQ-25’s mission is to plug carrier air wings’ “tanker gap” and preserve the fatigue life of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets now assigned to the tanking mission by taking over the air-to-air buddy refueling role.

The Navy is the assigned lead system integrator for the MQ-25, pulling together more than 70 subsystem programs of record and weaving them together for avcarrier-suitable unmanned tanker. The Stingray effort has been designated a rapid acquisition Maritime Accelerated Capabilities Office program, along with the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle.

There are three major program elements for the MQ-25: the control system and connectivity segment, carrier CVN segment and air vehicle segment. There are just two key performance parameters: mission tanking and carrier suitability. All else are key system attributes.

The chosen MQ-25 must have provisions to receive fuel from other aircraft. It will come equipped with a sensor ball for “light ISR” (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and have size, weight, power and cooling margin to carry a maritime surveillance radar.

The Navy has not specified how many MQ-25s will embark on the carrier at a time but has instead set the minimum number of refueling hoses that must be available for operations as well as a maximum “spot factor,” the amount of physical space the aircraft and any customized or peculiar support equipment can take up on the flight and hangar decks.

Existing concept refinement contracts awarded to Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman will continue through this spring concurrent with the down-selection.


http://aviationweek.com/defense/who-has ... ompetition

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Unread post08 Apr 2018, 14:01

Boeing unveils MQ-25 prototype, teams with Rolls Royce for engine

April 06, 2018 | Lee Hudson

ST. LOUIS -- After years of development, Boeing unveiled its prototype for the Navy's MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker competition and revealed the air vehicle uses the same engine as the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-4C Triton. Don "BD" Gaddis, MQ-25 program director at Boeing's Phantom Works division, told reporters here April 5 he is pleased the company is using the Rolls Royce AE 3007 engine for its MQ-25 prototype.


[paywall]

https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/bo ... yce-engine

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In 1995,the AE3007H was selected by Teledyne Ryan for the Tier II+ UAV, requiring long-endurance at up to 70,000 ft (21,300 m). It was tested at these altitudes in February 1996 at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee and the first was delivered in May 1996. ... AE 3007H (F137): Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton/RQ-4 Global Hawk

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_AE_3007

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Civilian AE 3007A
Max [b[takeoff[/b] thrust = 9,440 lbf
Applications: Embraer ERJ 135 / 140 / 145; EMB 145; Embraer Legacy 600/650; Cessna CitationX.

Military AE 3007H
Thrust: AE 3007H: 9,500 lbs
Bypass Ratio: 5

AE 3007H $3.76 million (2016)

" ... The AE 3007 is derived from the AE 1107C-Liberty turboshaft engine used on the Bell Helicopter Textron/Boeing V-22 Osprey. It was initially developed to create a turbofan member of the AE common core family for the regional jet and medium/large business jet markets but has subsequently been developed for military aircraft applications. A single AE 3007H engine allows the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk to fly at 65,000 feet while providing over 32 hours. ... The AE 3007 also powers Germany's Euro Hawk and NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) aircraft. ..."

http://www.fi-powerweb.com/Engine/Rolls ... -3007.html

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Much more fan than a turbojet ... plus dilutes thermal sig.
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gideonic

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Unread post09 Apr 2018, 18:17

Lockheed proposal
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element1loop

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Unread post09 Apr 2018, 18:28

Boeing's MQ-25 Prototype 'Ready to Fly' As Industry Awaits Contract Decision

4/6/2018
By Vivienne Machi

...“We have done almost everything short of flying, which we will do shortly after [contract] award.”

Naval Air Systems Command is pushing to award a fixed-price contract to one of the three competitors — Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems or Lockheed Martin — to develop and build four aircraft by the end of this summer, less than a year after proposals were sent in, he said. .. /

“Normally it takes NAVAIR about 18 months to do a source selection like this. … They’re going to do it in six months,” he said. “When the CNO said he wanted to accelerate the schedule, he meant it.” .../

Procurement is slated to begin in 2023, with initial operating capability expected in 2026, according to the Navy. .../

It will carry a 330-gallon fuel tank and a Cobham air refueling pod.

Boeing recently selected Rolls Royce to provide its AE 3007 engine for the airplane, which has over 73 million flight hours under its belt and is already installed on the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk and the Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial systems, Gaddis said. The company has already conducted low- and high-power testing with the engine installed on the T-1 prototype.

... which included a deck handling demonstration completed in February, he noted. Boeing worked to make the demo as accurate as possible, painting a taxiway to replicate a carrier flight deck and performing various tasks with the prototype aircraft for the Navy to evaluate.

“We’re doing it with the brakes, the tires, the nose wheel steering, the launch port — all of that is the same” as what will be on the aircraft should Boeing win the competition, Gaddis said. .../


http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... d-decision
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Unread post10 Apr 2018, 09:35


Lockheed announces industry partners on Navy’s MQ-25 tanker drone offering


By: Valerie Insinna

Lockheed Martin’s unmanned MQ-25 tanker ... General Electric F404 turbofan engine that powers the Super Hornet and the F-35C landing gear ...

“That engine is already on the carrier and they would have everything they would need to support the MQ-25, no innovation required — extremely important in reducing the risk and overall cost,” Babione said. ...

Lockheed liked the higher range and low fuel consumption of a flying wing design, Weiss said. Another Lockheed official on the program added that most tankers store fuel in its wings, “but all we are is a wing,” potentially allowing it to carry more fuel.

Another big departure from its competitors is Lockheed’s sales approach, which has showcased the aircraft’s room to grow into other applications, including a penetrating strike mission.

A video revealed during the briefing Monday showed Lockheed’s MQ-25 launching two AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapons from the hard points that would usually carry its drop tank and refueling pod.

Meanwhile, while the MQ-25 is not a stealth aircraft, it’s a “a plane form that would lend itself to a low observable design,” Weiss said, and could be modified to be LO in the future if the Navy wishes. ...


https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... -offering/
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Unread post11 Apr 2018, 02:06

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Unread post11 Apr 2018, 06:26

3:15 - General Atomics claims that their aircraft will more than double the strike range of the carrier air wing; that's pretty impressive considering that Lockheed's promo video said their Stingray would boost a fighter's combat radius by about 50%.
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