Phantom Ray flying wing to take off by year-end

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Boeing has unveiled its Phantom Ray unmanned flying wing, and says it'll have it in the air by the end of the year.

"We are on a fast track, and first flight is in sight," said Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works. "Phantom Ray is on schedule to fly in December, about two years after this project began. This is a tremendous accomplishment for Boeing and the Phantom Ray team."

Phantom Ray is designed to test advanced technologies for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack; strike; and autonomous aerial refueling.

"This is the first of what I expect to be many exciting prototypes, and they’re all with exciting technology," said Craig Brown, Boeing Phantom Ray program manager.

The flying wing is 36 feet long with a 50-foot wingspan and uses a F404-GE-102D turbofan engine. It has a cruising speed of 0.8 Mach - a little over 600 miles per hour - and an operating altitude of 40,000 feet.

It's based on a prototype created less than a decade ago for the J-UCAS program.

"The initial flights will take Phantom Ray through its paces for the flight test profile. Beyond that, the missions and systems tested will be determined by future warfighter needs," said Brown.