Boeing MQ-25 aerial refueling drone
Boeing MQ-25 aerial refueling drone

US Navy Announces Release of MQ-25A Stingray Home Basing Final EA and FONSI

The U.S. Navy has released a final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for home basing of the MQ-25A Stingray carrier-based Unmanned Air System (Stingray CBUAS) at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu, California. The Proposed Action is to establish facilities and functions at NBVC Point Mugu, California, to support home basing and operations of the MQ-25A Stingray CBUAS. Under the Proposed Action, the Navy would home base 20 Stingray CBUAS; construct a hangar, training facilities, and supporting infrastructure; perform air vehicle maintenance; provide training for operators and maintainers; conduct approximately 960 Stingray CBUAS annual flight operations; and station approximately 730 personnel, plus their family members.

The Stingray will enhance aircraft carrier capability and versatility through the integration of a persistent, sea-based, multi-mission aerial refueling and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance unmanned aerial system into the carrier air wing. The Stingray will extend the range and reach of carrier air wings on the West Coast to meet current and future threats and enhance refueling and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities in support of national defense objectives and policies.

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Based on analysis presented in the EA, which has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, and in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Coastal Commission, the Navy finds that implementation of the Proposed Action will not significantly impact the quality of the human environment. Therefore, an environmental impact statement is not required. The EA prepared by the Navy is on file and interested parties may obtain a copy by downloading the EA from the project website: https://www.nepa.navy.mil/stingray.

The Boeing MQ-25 Stingray is an aerial refueling drone that resulted from the Carrier-Based Aerial-Refueling System (CBARS) program, which grew out of the earlier Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program. The MQ-25 first flew on 19 September 2019. Boeing’s MQ-25 design is powered by one Rolls-Royce AE 3007N turbofan engine delivering 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) of thrust; it is a variant of the engine used to power the Navy’s MQ-4C Triton. The aircraft is less stealthy than flying wing UAVs. It does feature a stealthy fuselage shaping, flush inlet to shield engine blades from radar and V-tail. As of 2020 the United States Navy plans to establish Unmanned Carrier Launched Multi-Role Squadron 10 (VUQ-10) in October 2021 with “four Engineering and Manufacturing examples of the MQ-25A”.

Boeing MQ-25 aerial refueling drone
Boeing conducts MQ-25 deck handling demonstration at its facility in St. Louis, Mo. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of The Boeing Co./Released)
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