Boeing Phantom Ray Completes 1st Flight; Unmanned Airborne System Reaches 7,500 Feet, 178 Knots

ST. LOUIS-

The Boeing Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system (UAS) successfully completed its first flight April 27 at NASA’s Dryden Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The 17-minute flight took place following a series of high-speed taxi tests in March that validated ground guidance, navigation and control and verified mission planning, pilot interface and operational procedures. Phantom Ray flew to 7,500 feet and reached a speed of 178 knots.

« This day has been two-and-a-half years in the making, » said Darryl Davis, president, Boeing Phantom Works. « It’s the beginning of providing our customers with a test bed to develop future unmanned systems technology, and a testament to the capabilities resident within Boeing. Just as follow-on tests will expand Phantom Ray’s flight envelope, they also will help Boeing expand its presence in the unmanned systems market. »

The flight demonstrated Phantom Ray’s basic airworthiness, setting the stage for additional flights in the next few weeks. These company-funded flights will prepare Phantom Ray to support potential missions that may include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack; strike; and autonomous air refueling.

« The first flight moves us farther into the next phase of unmanned aircraft, » said Craig Brown, Phantom Ray program manager for Boeing. « Autonomous, fighter-sized unmanned aircraft are real, and the UAS bar has been raised. Now I’m eager to see how high that bar will go. »

Phantom Ray is one of several programs in Phantom Works, including Phantom Eye, that is part of a rapid prototyping initiative to design, develop and build advanced aircraft and then demonstrate their capabilities. Boeing’s portfolio of UAS solutions also includes the A160T Hummingbird, Integrator, ScanEagle and SolarEagle.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 66,000 employees worldwide.

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