US Navy’s MQ-25 Unmanned Aerial Refueling Aircraft Gets Improved Fuel Capacity

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  • 10:27 AM, July 9, 2018
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US Navy’s MQ-25 Unmanned Aerial Refueling Aircraft Gets Improved Fuel Capacity
GA-ASI Maximizing Fuel Capacity for MQ-25

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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