During the flight, the receiver Navy F/A-18 [Super] Hornet approached the Boeing-owned MQ-25 T1 test asset, conducted a formation evaluation, wake survey, drogue tracking, and then plugged with the unmanned aircraft. T1 then successfully transferred fuel from its Aerial Refueling Store (ARS) to the F/A-18,” NAVAIR said in a statement.

“The milestone comes after 25 T1 flights, testing both aircraft and ARS aerodynamics across the flight envelope, as well as extensive simulations of aerial refueling using MQ-25 digital models. MQ-25 T1 will continue flight testing prior to being shipped to Norfolk, Virginia, for deck handling trials aboard a U.S. Navy carrier later this year.”

The flight comes after the Navy made its first test flight with the test stores in December. The T-1 was originally built in 2014 by Boeing as the company’s bid for the canceled Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program.

It might have issues with long-range strike missions over the ocean, but the link issue, close to the carrier – or where an E-2D is within link range is something else. Not a bad idea for a mid-air refueling aircraft.


On This Day

On this day in 1871, U.S. Marines attacked and captured a series of forts at the mouth of Korea’s Han River. It was America’s first military expedition on the Korean Peninsula, but not the last.

The expedition consisted of about 650 men, over 500 sailors, and 100 Marines, as well as five warships: ColoradoAlaskaPalosMonocacy, and Benicia. The Korean forces, known as “Tiger Hunters”, were led by General Eo Jae-yeon.

The Americans safely made contact with the Korean inhabitants, described as “people wearing white clothes”. When they inquired about the General Sherman incident (the ship had gone missing in Korean waters, previously), the Koreans were initially reluctant to discuss the topic, ostensibly to avoid having to pay any recompense. The Americans consequently let the Koreans know that their fleet would be exploring the area and that they meant no harm. This gesture was misinterpreted; Korean policy at the time prohibited foreign ships from sailing on the Han River, as it led directly to the capital city of Hanyang, modern-day Seoul. Therefore, the Joseon government rejected the U.S. request. However, despite the Joseon government’s refusal, the United States sailed.

On 1 June, the Korean fortress fired at the U.S. fleet as they sailed up the Ganghwa Straits, which leads to the river. The U.S. forces were not badly damaged due to “the bad gunnery of the [K]oreans, whose fire, although very hot for the fifteen minutes in which they maintained it, was ill-directed, and consequently without effect.” The U.S. demanded an apology within 10 days; there was no response so Rodgers decided on a punitive assault on the forts.

On 10 June, the Americans attacked the lightly defended Choji Garrison on Ganghwa, along the Salee River. The Koreans were armed with severely outdated weapons, such as matchlock muskets but with cannons. After they were quickly overrun, the Americans moved onto their next objective, the Deokjin Garrison. The poorly armed Korean forces were kept from effective range by American 12-pound howitzers. The American troops continued on towards the next objective, Deokjin Fort, which they found abandoned. The sailors and Marines quickly dismantled this fortress and continued to Gwangseong Garrison, a citadel. By this time, Korean forces had regrouped there. Along the way, some Korean units tried to flank the U.S. forces but were beaten off again due to the strategic placement of artillery on two hills.

Artillery fire from ground forces and Monocacy offshore pounded the citadel in preparation for an assault by U.S. forces. A force of 546 sailors and 105 Marines grouped on the hills west of the fortress (infantry troops were on the hill directly west of the fortress, while artillery troops on another hill both shelled the fortress and also covered the Americans’ flanks and rear) keeping cover and returning fire. Once the bombardment stopped, the Americans charged the citadel, led by Lieutenant Hugh McKee. The slow reload time of the Korean matchlocks aided the Americans, who were armed with superior Remington rolling block carbines, in making it over the walls; the Koreans even ended up throwing rocks at the attackers.

The fighting lasted fifteen minutes. The total number of killed were 243 Koreans and three Americans. 10 Americans were wounded and 20 Koreans were captured, several of whom were wounded. Five Korean forts were taken in total, with dozens of various small cannons. The Korean deputy commander was among the wounded who were captured. The U.S. hoped to use the captives as a bargaining chip to meet with local officials, but the Koreans refused, calling the captives cowards and “Low was told that he was welcome to keep the wounded prisoners”.

The United State had hoped that their victory would persuade the Koreans to return to the negotiating table. But the Koreans refused to negotiate. In fact, these events led the regent Daewon-gun to strengthen his policy of isolation and issue a national proclamation against appeasing foreigners.




    • Mid-air refueling, close to the carrier, where the ship controls the airspace and the bandwidth, it’s not a bad idea.

      Will it trap in bad weather? Or will the expensive drone smash into the ship or dip beneath the waves on its way to Davey Jones?

  1. how many billion to transfer 346 lbs of fuel? that’s like 46 gallons, or six seconds of flight time. okay, maybe a minute but you get the idea.

  2. Kind of cool about the drone, but…

    If they had just done the super-Viking COD aircraft, they’d have a plane that could do… Anti-ship/anti-sub patrol, cargo ops, aerial refueling, next-gen aerial surveillance (to replace the Hawkeye), passenger ops, yada yada yada for about the same price. In an all-weather, trap anytime, multi-roll versatile manned platform that’s not subject to being hacked by the ChiComs.

    As to Korea, well, they’ve always been tough bastids. Just often facing overwhelming odds and not quite making it. It shocked the poop out of me when, after all of the pagentry and stick-it-in-your-eye-China of the opening ceremonies of the Seoul Olympics, the ROKs basically fawned all over the ChiComs and the evil sister of the NORK dictator. Geez, people, only how many years of being the whipping boy/girl/country of every tin-pot dictator and oppressive pan-Asian empire and you openly fellate the ChiComs and Madame Death? WTF?

    • The Super S-3 would have been a good move, but the Navy wasn’t interested in making good moves.

  3. I remember lots of people having these stick-figure stickers over there. I found it most odd as we don’t have them. If we did, I think that one or similar would be a winner!

  4. Agree with all above; the drone tanker is neat and potentially handy for topping up fighters after launch and such, but I sure wish the USN had a real, large, high-capacity tanker aircraft.

    … and a long-range high performance air-superiority/anti-missile aircraft, and a medium bomber, and an anti-submarine plane, etc… like we used to have back in the ’80s and ’90s.

    Instead we get a semi-obsolescent growth model fighter-bomber of something originally designed as a low-end of the high/low mix and replacement for the A-7 light attack plane, back in the 1970s, and an unproven gee-whiz with no legs (also designed as the low end of a high/low mix), and an ASW helo, and a cargo Osprey, and the Hawkeye, and an R/C airplane.



  5. I think I recall reading or hearing that when an FA-18 mission starts, they have to refuel as soon as they get into the air. Does that sound familiar? Something about running at max throttle to get off the carrier?

    • That was true with a lot of aircraft that flew sorties in Viet Nam. They took off, took a drink at altitude, attacked the target, took a drink at altitude, and flew back.

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