The U.S. Navy is going to choose a new carrier-launched drone by the end of 2018 as part of a plan to expand its fighter jet attack range and the power ability of its aircraft carriers.
The program, known as Navy MQ-25 Stingray, will enter service in the middle of the next decade. It will bring new technology and offer a first-of-its-kind unmanned refueler for the carrier air wing.
At this point, one of the most important questions surrounding the efforts is whether the attack range capabilities of its fighters, including the F-18 or F-35C, can be doubled with the new technology.
Another question being posed is whether it would allow the carriers to carry out offensive operations while at a safer distance.
The Navy, which believes the program may answer those questions, is currently looking at proposals from different military contractors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics, to build the new MQ-25 drone.