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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 erple2 on 5/5/2011 5:36:21 PM , Rating: 2
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.


I think you'll also find that no B-2 can do that, as no pilot would fly a round-trip mission 10,000 miles long when you can't refuel, given your plane can only go 6000 miles.

Unless the target is really only about 2500 miles away from the nearest "friendly" refueling capability. In which case, if the range of a cruise missile was about 2500 miles, you'd be golden, too.


RE: Stealth?
By chiadog on 5/5/2011 11:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
In air refuelling? Just top off the tanks few thousand miles out from the target, and the same on the way back. The range is limited by the endurance of the crew.


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