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
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
"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."
quote: This aircraft looks like it's going to make our 21 multibillion dollar B-2's obsolete, since you can make a lot of them cheaply and replace any losses much easier.
quote: before their airframes wore out or they were shot down.
quote: The B-2 will never have a successor that's comparable in size and stealth.
quote: I know about program development costs and amortizing, you really didn't need to explain that, but thanks.
quote: In the end, we the tax payers paid $44 billion and got only 21 aircraft (I think one crashed). $44B would have bought 44000 cruise missiles at $1M apiece, which is more destructive power than 21 B-2's would deliver in their lifetime before their airframes wore out or they were shot down.
quote: which is more destructive power than 21 B-2's would deliver in their lifetime before their airframes wore out or they were shot down.
quote: If your target is 5,000 miles away, you're going to find that you have a bunch of cruise missiles that can't reach the target.