The MQ-25 will enhance carrier capability and versatility for the Joint Forces Commander through rapid development, delivery, and integration of an effective, affordable, sustainable and adaptable unmanned air system into the Carrier Air Wing.


The MQ-25 is a system-of-systems that integrates the first operational carrier-based, catapult-launched Unmanned Air System (UAS) with existing aircraft carrier (CVN) systems and command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) systems. It will provide a long-endurance Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and robust organic refueling capability for the Carrier Air Wing (CVW).  The MQ-25A Stingray will significantly extend the effective mission ranges of CVW assets, alleviate the current Carrier Strike Group organic ISR shortfall, and preserve F/A-18E/F service life.

MQ-25 will be the first air system procured by the Navy's Unmanned Carrier Aviation Program Office. (PMA-268)  It is comprised of three major architectural segments: an Air Segment (AS), a Control System & Connectivity (CS&C) Segment, and a Carrier (CVN) Segment.

  • AS– Includes the MQ-25 UAS, which is composed of the MQ-25A Stingray air vehicle and associated support and handling equipment including the deck handling system, spares and repair materials.
  • CS&C – Includes the Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) Mission Control System (UMCS) and its associated communication equipment; the Distributed Common Ground Station-Navy (DCGS-N) mission support functionality; all network based interfaces and routing equipment required to control the Stingray; and all required modifications to existing networks and C4I system infrastructure to enable tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination (TCPED) of the Stingray’s ISR information.
  • CVN – Composed of CVN ships’ spaces allocated to UCA as well as installed ship systems and modifications necessary for interface with the Air and CS&C segments.  CVN systems important to the MQ-25 include aircraft launch and recovery systems, data dissemination systems (including radio terminals and antennas), and deck operations systems.

These segments are overseen by the Government Lead Systems Integrator (LSI), providing government-led system-of-systems integration for the Unmanned Carrier Aviation Program.  MQ-25 will leverage existing Line of Sight (LOS) and Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications links and interface with existing ship and land-based command and control systems, including ISR TCPED systems.  It will  significantly increase the range of manned CVW aircraft with its enhanced refueling capabilities, pioneer the integration of manned and unmanned systems within the CVW, and pave the way for more multifaceted multi-mission UAS’ to pace emerging threats.