Unmanned Carrier Aviation Program

The Unmanned Carrier Aviation program office (PMA-268) is responsible for the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned air system. The Stingray will be the Navy's first operational, carrier-based unmanned aircraft and will provide a critical aerial refueling capability to the carrier air wing. 


Capt. Sam Messer, U.S. Navy

Program Manager, Unmanned Carrier Aviation

Capt. Messer is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas and a 1996 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He earned his Wings of Gold in 1999 in Kingsville, Texas.

Messer’s operational career began as a Navy pilot flying the S-3B Viking. He deployed with Sea Control Squadron 24 (VS 24), where he flew combat support missions for Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom while deployed with Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW 8) onboard the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). He was also an S-3B Fleet Replacement Squadron (VS 41) instructor pilot. During his VS 41 tour, he deployed with Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW 5) onboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) where he was selected as Commander, Sea Control Wing Pacific’s 2004 Instructor Pilot of the Year.

In 2006, Messer transitioned into the aerospace engineering duty officer community and has served in multiple acquisition and engineering roles across three different agencies including military assistant to the director, National Reconnaissance Office, program manager Joint Milli-Arcsecond Pathfinder Survey satellite program at SPAWAR, class desk for Strike Planning and Execution Systems (PMA-281), deputy program manager for Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) and Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) for Precision Strike Weapons (PMA-201) at NAVAIR. Most recently, he was director of the Effects Deployment Office (FXDO) with complete responsibility for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) and MALD programs.

He attended the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in 2008. While attending NPS, he completed two degree programs in space systems and computer science and was selected for an outstanding thesis award. Capt. Messer is also qualified as an Information Dominance Warfare Officer (Space Cadre).

Messer has over 1,900 hours of flight time and 400 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal (three awards); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards); Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards); and numerous campaign and unit awards. He is also the recipient of the NRO Medal of Meritorious Service and two NAVAIR Commander’s National Awards.


47123 Buse Rd, Bldg. 2272, Suite 246
Patuxent River, MD 20670
United States


Jamie Cosgrove