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Boeing Phantom Ray  (Source: Boeing)

  (Source: Boeing)
Additional test flights to take place of the next few weeks

Boeing first unveiled a near-complete version of its Phantom Ray unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) nearly a year ago. This week, the company announced that its Phantom Ray has completed its first flight.  

The first flight lasted for 17 minutes during which the Phantom Ray reached a maximum altitude of 7,500 feet and a top speed of 178 knots. 

The program is being completely funded by Boeing, and the first test flight's primary goals were to test fight characteristics of the aircraft. The company also notes that future mission parameters for the aircraft could include strike operations and autonomous in-air refueling. 

The Boeing Phantom Ray is 36 feet long and has a wingspan of 50 feet. The maximum takeoff weight for the aircraft is 36,500 pounds and is powered by a single GE F404-GE-102D engine.

"Autonomous, fighter-sized unmanned aircraft are real," said Phantom Ray program manager Craig Brown. "The UAS bar has been raised. Now I’m eager to see how high that bar will go."

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RE: Stealth?
By DawsonsDada on 5/5/2011 10:33:16 AM , Rating: 2
Only some UAV's fly "low and slow". The one's that do this are usually tactical UAV's that are hand launched and are carried by two man team's.

There are other UAV's (think Global Hawk, Predator, etc.) that fly several thousand feet up in the air and are either small enough to not provide much of a radar return (Predator) and can't be heard or fly high enough that even though they might provide a radar return they won't be heard by anyone on the ground (Global Hawk, etc.)

That being said, fighters and helicopter gun ships are capable of downing these UAV's if they can be found and vectored into an interception.

Technology trasfer due to a "shoot down" scenario is always a consideration so we try to (paraphrasing Gen. Patton here) "make the other guy die for his country first)

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