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Drone

Washington (UPI) Aug 31, 2018 –

Boeing has received a ceiling price $805 million contract to provide the design, development, construction, testing and support of four MQ-25A Stingray unmanned tanker drones.

Work on the contract, announced Thursday by the Department of Defense, will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., Indianapolis, Ind., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Quebec, Canada, Palm Bay, Fla., as well as other locations inside and outside the continental United States. Work is expected to be completed by August 2024.

Navy fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $79 million will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The MQ-25A Stingray is an unmanned aerial tanker drone designed for use off of aircraft carriers for fighter and strike aircraft for extended range and endurance. Specifically, the MQ-25 is expected to extend the range of F/A-18 Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers and the F-35C, according to Boeing.

“When operational, MQ-25A will improve the performance, efficiency, and safety of the carrier air wing and provide longer range and greater persistence tanking capability to execute missions that otherwise could not be performed,” the Pentagon told CNBC.

Boeing, as well as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, have been working on development of the tanker drone for several years.

The Navy projects its eventual goal of 72 tanker drones will cost about $13 billion, with an expectation that the aircraft will achieve initial operational capability in 2024.