Boeing's MQ-25 Tanker Drone Trucked To Air Base Near St. Louis For Flight Testing

The exotic looking carrier-based drone is heading to MidAmerica Airport on the outskirts of St. Louis to begin its ground and air test program. 

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Boeing's MQ-25 Stingray tanker drone—the aircraft that won the U.S. Navy's Carrier-Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) contract last Fall—is on the move in a fairly spectacular fashion. Motorists, including one of our readers, saw the exotic looking drone being trucked on Missouri roads on the evening of Sunday, April 28th, 2019. Apparently, the aircraft is headed to MidAmerica Airport for testing. Up until now, the MQ-25 prototype hasn't left the confines of St. Louis's Lambert International Airport, where Boeing's tactical aircraft plant is. 

MidAmerica Airport is co-located with Scott AFB on the outskirts of St. Louis. According to our contacts at Boeing, the MQ-25 will conduct flight testing from MidAmerican Airport. Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg told investors on a January 30th phone call that the company plans to fly their existing MQ-25 demonstrator in 2019. The first of four Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) aircraft the Navy has ordered is scheduled to fly for the first time sometime in 2021. Clearly, using the existing aircraft Boeing already has will help offset risk and enhance the quality of the EMD aircraft and their support infrastructure once they roll out of Boeing's St. Louis plant. 

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Moving exotic looking aircraft via road can spur quite the buzz and plenty of theories to go along with it. At least in the MQ-25's case, that hasn't seemed to have occurred. 

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MidAmerica Airport is connected via a long taxiway with Scott AFB. The installation is situated on the outskirts of St. Louis, making it very convienant for Boeing as the MQ-25 was born at nearby Lambert International Airport. 

We will keep you apprised as Boeing's potentially revolutionary carrier-based tanker drone marches towards its first flight. 

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com