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The Phantom Ray is a fighter-sized semi-autonomous stealth UAV from Boeing, shown here in a concept rendering.  (Source: Boeing)

The near-complete Phantom Ray was unveiled this week and will begin test flights in December.  (Source: Boeing photo)
First flight will be conducted in December

Last year, Boeing discussed the future of the "Phantom Ray", a stealthy, unmanned aerial vehicle.  The Phantom Ray was based on the X-45C design which Boeing produced for the DARPA Joint-Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) program.

On Monday, Boeing unveiled the near complete fighter-sized automated craft and announced that plans to conduct a December test flight and nine more test flights in the following six months were proceeding quite nicely.

Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works cheered, "We are on a fast track, and first flight is in sight.  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."

The Phantom Ray is designed to fulfill a variety of roles including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack; strike; and autonomous aerial refueling. 

Today, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are fast becoming a mainstay of the U.S. Armed Forces in the global arena, but most UAVs currently in action require extensive piloting.  The Phantom Ray, by contrast, would be mostly autonomous, making its own way to designated targets and only requiring a human operator to pull the trigger.  The Phantom Ray is also larger than most UAVs currently in action, and thus should be able to support more diverse roles or provide more destructive power.

Test taxis will take place this summer.  Craig Brown, Phantom Ray program manager for Boeing, describes the flights that will follow, stating, "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."

Boeing describes its secretive Phantom Works division writing:

Phantom Works uses rapid prototyping initiatives to design, develop and build advanced aircraft and then demonstrate their capabilities.

A number of military suppliers were involved with the Phantom Ray.  Among those announced by Boeing include General Electric-Aviation (propulsion and power distribution), Honeywell (brake system), Woodward-HRT (flight control actuation system), Crane Hydro-Aire (brake controls) and Heroux-Devtek (landing gear). 

The U.S. Air Force last year gained their first jet-powered UAV.  If the tests of the Phantom Ray go smoothly, it may decide to soon add its first semi-autonomous stealth UAV to its stable.



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Nice...
By lainofthewired on 5/14/2010 2:22:02 PM , Rating: 5
That's a slick looking plane.




RE: Nice...
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 5/14/2010 2:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
The front window area reminds me of the Stormtroopers helmet on the speeder bikes.


RE: Nice...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/14/2010 2:32:36 PM , Rating: 3
What window?


RE: Nice...
By BladeVenom on 5/14/2010 2:34:17 PM , Rating: 4
I think he's referring to the intake.


RE: Nice...
By lightfoot on 5/14/2010 2:37:09 PM , Rating: 3
That's not a window... It's an air intake!

UAV's don't need windows.


RE: Nice...
By xler8r on 5/14/2010 2:38:17 PM , Rating: 3
Noobranium


RE: Nice...
By shaw on 5/14/2010 3:27:25 PM , Rating: 5
Legion: Windows are structural weaknesses. Geth do not use Windows.


RE: Nice...
By nangryo on 5/15/2010 1:35:09 AM , Rating: 2
Wow..., best comment of the day
I think he deserve 6!


RE: Nice...
By AnnihilatorX on 5/15/2010 9:06:55 AM , Rating: 2
Blue screen?


RE: Nice...
By MadMan007 on 5/14/2010 2:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
That would be the engine air intake but yes, with the camo scheme in the second picture it does look like that.


RE: Nice...
By callmeroy on 5/14/2010 3:48:06 PM , Rating: 4
I guess I follow suit since everyone else has to weigh in on it..."that's not a window!"......

....seriously folks...CHILL OUT....my God the guy made a small mistake and 2938 people have to rub it in his face...


RE: Nice...
By callmeroy on 5/14/2010 3:49:10 PM , Rating: 1
Ok that's a slight exaggeration....

400 people..there I feel better.


RE: Nice...
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 5/14/2010 4:50:36 PM , Rating: 5
I don't feel better... 400 whippings in such a short time really hurts. I sure it's going to leave a mark too.


RE: Nice...
By magreen on 5/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: Nice...
By Spookster on 5/14/2010 6:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a window. It's a mouth that eats enemy fire, recycles it and fires it back at them.


RE: Nice...
By satveeraj on 5/15/2010 7:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
Thats ones SICK looking plane!!!


Aaaannnd here we go..
By MadMan007 on 5/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By dgingeri on 5/14/2010 4:45:49 PM , Rating: 1
the F22 is an air-supremacy fighter. this thing is a bomber. this thing couldn't dogfight to save it's "life".

in the mean time, we're left with F15s to protect these things from enemy fighters.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By Jeffk464 on 5/14/2010 6:06:22 PM , Rating: 1
Its stealth, the idea is that it can get in and out undetected.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By InsaneGain on 5/14/2010 6:28:07 PM , Rating: 1
So...just because it hasn't been publicly announced, you don't think someone right now is developing an air supremacy version of these drones? The F-22 and F-35 will probably be the last manned fighters designed in the U.S.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By Calin on 5/15/2010 1:12:45 AM , Rating: 2
Especially considering the F-22 is targeted for a 50 years life span. Many things will happen in 50 years, look at the World War 1 biplanes versus Mig-21, or World War 2 fighter/bombers versus SR-71 or F-117


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By murray13 on 5/15/2010 6:27:29 AM , Rating: 2
The SR-71 is a bad example it's 46 years old.

First flight was on 22 December 1964.

I agree that we have made wonderous strides in technology in the last 50 years.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By US56 on 5/16/2010 6:02:14 PM , Rating: 3
The SR-71 and its predecessors are older than you might think. The SR-71 was one of the last in a series of Lockheed aircraft, the A-11, A-12, F-12, SR-71, M-21, which were the product of a program which began in 1957. Actually, I believe Kelly Johnson and some of the Skunkworks engineers began thinking about what they were going to do for a follow-on to the U-2 about the time of the first flight of that aircraft in 1955 when they could see that it looked like a flying barn door on radar and knew that Soviet air defenses would catch up to it sooner or later. They presumed sooner. As it turned out, they were able to successfully operate the U-2 in Soviet air space longer than they had ever thought possible and that bought time to come up with a fantastic next act.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By ColomialBoy on 5/18/2010 1:25:26 AM , Rating: 2
And yet we have 60+ year old B52s still in active duty. Until metal fatigue catches up with you, a good design lasts forever :-)


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By Reclaimer77 on 5/15/2010 3:14:38 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The F-22 and F-35 will probably be the last manned fighters designed in the U.S.


lol do you actually believe that?

Not going to happen. It's WAY too soon to bury manned fighters. We haven't even seen any real test data on this thing. It's a concept.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By DanNeely on 5/16/2010 9:22:37 AM , Rating: 2
It's too early to do so now; but the next generation fighters aren't being designed now. The F15 entered service in 76, the F16 in 78, the F18 not until 83; but it was a derivative of a design originally made for the F16 competition. Of the current generation fighters, the F22 was first deployed in 2005, the F35 is expected to enter service in 2012-14 (depending on which variant you're looking at). That's a 30+ year gap; in 20 years or so when we start looking at what to replace our aging F22/35 fleet with UAVs will be much more capable than they are currently; and an autonomous or remote controlled fighter might be a viable option then.

If the AI/control links are up to it the ability to pull more than the ~9 peak G's that a current fighter can before the pilot blacks out would be a major advantage in combat.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By Solandri on 5/16/2010 11:30:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
the F22 was first deployed in 2005, the F35 is expected to enter service in 2012-14 (depending on which variant you're looking at). That's a 30+ year gap; in 20 years or so when we start looking at what to replace our aging F22/35 fleet with UAVs will be much more capable than they are currently; and an autonomous or remote controlled fighter might be a viable option then.

Erm, I was an intern at Lockheed in 1991 when the Air Force selected the YF-22 over the YF-23 and the F-22 became the official designation. Despite being the premier air superiority fighter currently in the USAF's arsenal, the plane was made and designed with 1980s technology. A lot of its specifications were based on combat scenarios with Soviet fighters and bombers. The end of the Cold War left it as a pariah - a plane looking for a mission. That combined with budget cuts and development delays led to its late entry into active service.

Basically, the F22 is already 20-30 years old. The F35 is a much newer plane, but I haven't been following its development as closely. The overall impression I get though is "too many cooks spoil the broth." It's being asked to be able to do so many different things, that I doubt it will do any one thing particularly well.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By US56 on 5/16/2010 6:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I'm afraid the F-35 could become the new TFX. That eventually came right after 20 years but by the time it did its mission had nearly evaporated. The AF really needs to find a happy medium between the forties and fifties when they developed a new aircraft at the drop of a hat and now when they seem to presume a design going into production will last 30-50 years. With rapid advancement of technology, they have to be more flexible and prepared to light a lot of fuses to keep things evolving. Wouldn't it be nice to have some of the bailout billions for new aircraft designs?


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By mostyle on 5/17/2010 6:39:31 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The AF really needs to find a happy medium between the forties and fifties when they developed a new aircraft at the drop of a hat and now when they seem to presume a design going into production will last 30-50 years.


Really? You think that the monster that motivates such classics as 'hurry up and wait' would actually grasp the concept of a happy medium? The mere fact that what you say makes perfect common sense would imply that it probably wont see the light of day in a military setting..

-Tony


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By MadMan007 on 5/14/2010 7:24:09 PM , Rating: 1
Pedantic and literal idiot. What part of 'LIKE THIS' and 'I can only imagine what else is in the pipeline that's still top secret' do you not understand?


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By Yawgm0th on 5/14/2010 4:52:00 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The Phantom Ray is designed to fulfill a variety of roles including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack; strike; and autonomous aerial refueling.
Do you see "air superiority" listed here? I sure don't.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By MadMan007 on 5/14/2010 11:00:11 PM , Rating: 1
Do you see " like this " and "I can only imagine what else is in the pipeline that's still top secret" in my post?


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By InsaneGain on 5/14/2010 4:54:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I'm starting to wonder if the F-22 plans have been cut back because higher ups know that new technology will very soon render them completely obsolete. These planes will not be encumbered by human limitations. I read something about how these UAV's will be able to patrol in mass formations and communicate any detected threats to each other, and then instantly formulate the best strategy to eliminate the threat together. Science fiction usually portrays humans as having a very hard time, but having a good chance against a machine enemy. In reality, I don't think humans would have even a slight chance of success against a well created artificial intelligence that can sense its targets much better, formulate strategy much quicker, calculate things like lead perfectly, and never miss. I believe if the SkyNet scenario ever did happen, humans would be wiped out very quickly.


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By ColomialBoy on 5/18/2010 1:21:30 AM , Rating: 2
That the one thing computers do NOT do well. They also are not too terrific at pattern recognition/processing, which is something we humans do well from birth (I have read some recent studies about how much more rapidly human babies learn to recognize images compared to adults. It's a little scary).

Remember, a computer cannot formulate a strategy any better than it's programmer can. Look at the terrific difficulties they are having getting the robotic cars to work in Darpa annual robotic vehicle competition. It's taken 5+ years for the best minds in the US to get robotic vehicles to work well in their simulated urban environment (top speed 10MPH). Now think about what it is like in a furball with 10+ jets on each side going hundreds of MPG, plus multiple missiles travelling multiple mach speeds. It will quite a while before computers will be trusted to more than maintain level flight (which they do quite well).


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By Drag0nFire on 5/17/2010 3:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
I just hope no one figures out how to hack it...


RE: Aaaannnd here we go..
By JediJeb on 5/17/2010 5:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well maybe they will need the $60 software to hack this instead of the $30 lite version used to hack the drones.


Got a question....
By Smartless on 5/14/2010 2:40:48 PM , Rating: 5
The plane is stealthy but what stops the enemy from monitoring, intercepting or jamming the transmission. Raspberry, no one dares to use Raspberry but Looooonnnestaaaar.




RE: Got a question....
By nafhan on 5/14/2010 2:52:16 PM , Rating: 3
I'd imagine spread spectrum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spread_spectrum) radio stuff with some pretty decent encryption on top. Possibly other stuff, too...


RE: Got a question....
By Smartless on 5/14/2010 3:07:36 PM , Rating: 3
Wow thanks. Wikipedia is great though i guess it helps if you know what you're looking for.

What's also funny is when I first saw this design, I thought hey I've seen something just like it on a recent trip to the Smithsonian. LOL shoulda known.
http://www.nasm.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?id...


RE: Got a question....
By Jeffk464 on 5/14/2010 6:04:14 PM , Rating: 1
Semi-autonomous, it can fly all the way to the target on its own and then only requires human input to pull the trigger. It sounds like it can go radio silent until right before it is ready to attack the target.


RE: Got a question....
By PrinceGaz on 5/16/2010 10:23:12 AM , Rating: 5
It seems a bit of a weakness if it has to receive communication before it opens fire. A better idea would be for it to be fully automated and be given general mission objectives in advance and its own onboard AI will decide what to attack. Unlike humans, computers are infallible so what could possibly go wrong?


RE: Got a question....
By Jackattak on 5/17/2010 12:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
No way in hell will they ever provide AI with the ability to attack targets. Way too much liability, there.

SkyNet, anyone?


RE: Got a question....
By jpwolf on 5/19/2010 5:11:40 PM , Rating: 2
Except we already have drones that fly ~2000 miles and attack a pre-determined target automatically. Ever heard of a cruise missile?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BGM-109_Tomahawk

I will agree that its unlikely that we will have AI that we trust to go engage any old target it feels like anytime soon. But its not hard to imagine AI that could handle flying over a battlefield in a pre-determined area and destroy anything that looks like a tank.


RE: Got a question....
By AbsShek on 5/19/2010 8:39:15 AM , Rating: 2
What if it gets hit by lightning and grows a conscience?


RE: Got a question....
By drycrust3 on 5/14/2010 3:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
or jamming the transmission


Jamming is just an interim measure, the permanent measure is to download the aircraft's login and password off the internet and to then tell the plane to land at your airfield. Once landed you quickly photograph all the inner workings and copy the software, then tell the plane to take off and resume it's mission.
9 months later, lo and behold, you have your own UAV fighter ... that needs a Windows License? "Are you sure this isn't a trick by the CIA?".


RE: Got a question....
By thekdub on 5/16/2010 1:38:52 AM , Rating: 2
If the enemy jams the radar, the plane will just switch over to the onboard Mr. Coffee.


RE: Got a question....
By osalcido on 5/16/2010 6:31:49 AM , Rating: 3
No Idea why this got modded up... if you read the effing article it says the breakthrough with this aircraft is that it is nearly autonomous. It's TODAY's UAVs that are susceptible to the type of Ewar you're talking about. This thing could be jammed to all hell and still fly to its target and back.


Good job Boeing!
By lightfoot on 5/14/2010 2:23:25 PM , Rating: 5
Skynet will be pleased.




RE: Good job Boeing!
By Anoxanmore on 5/14/2010 3:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
We are the Borg. Surrender. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.


RE: Good job Boeing!
By lightfoot on 5/14/2010 5:19:28 PM , Rating: 5
Actually the quote I was going for was:
quote:
In three years, Cyberdyne will become the largest supplier of military computer systems. All stealth bombers are upgraded with Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they fly with a perfect operational record. The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes online on August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware 2:14 AM, Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.


But Boeing's plane is a fighter, and not a bomber... Could the Terminator have been mistaken? He (it?) clearly got the dates wrong.


RE: Good job Boeing!
By lightfoot on 5/14/2010 5:26:37 PM , Rating: 2
Damn, where is the edit button? The Terminator was right - this is a bomber, not a fighter.


Bigger is not better.
By JonnyDough on 5/16/2010 1:06:43 AM , Rating: 1
I'm not sure that being a larger plane makes the Phantom Ray better than conventional UAVs. Sure it can carry a larger payload, but I think a group of smaller craft dropping several bombs would not only be more efficient because you could choose to use any number of UAVs for any job, but it would also be more stealthy. Smaller signatures would look more like a flock of birds, and less like an aircraft to radar, plus as an example - 5 bombs dropped on a target would not only equal the same amount of firepower as one large bomb. Smaller aircraft are harder to shoot out of the sky, same with any of their bombs or missiles fired. Even if you were able to shoot down one aircraft or missile from a group of small attack planes, four would still reach the destination. Don't put all your eggs in one basket...don't put all your birds and bombs in one either.




RE: Bigger is not better.
By DominionSeraph on 5/16/2010 3:01:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, why don't you throw firecrackers at a tank one after another and compare to a HEAT round. Or shoot arrows at an APC and compare 30mm depleted uranium. Because, sure, many small = 1 large. :rolleyes:

quote:
I think

...poorly.


RE: Bigger is not better.
By JonnyDough on 5/18/2010 2:19:35 AM , Rating: 2
There's really no need to be a prick. Really.

It is possible for five projectiles hitting the same exact spot at the same time to be the equivalent of one larger projectile. It would hit with the same amount of force, as it is the same amount of weight. Perhaps it's you who does not have the capacity to think outside the box, or to be civil. If I was a moderator here I would probably warn you to get yourself in check. There's no need for childish outbursts like that in a simple discussion.


RE: Bigger is not better.
By ayat101 on 5/20/2010 10:29:58 AM , Rating: 2
You do not know what you are talking about.

For many small projectiles to have the same effect as one large one, the following would have to be true:

- they have to hit exactly the same spot, practically impossible.

- they would have to hit at exactly the same time, totally impossible as that would require them to occupy the same space... and I'm sure you agree you can not have two things in the same space.

- all the smaller projectiles would have to have the physical characteristics of the larger one, as a harder or denser metal will have different effects to a softer metal... this may be possible to arrange but it ads even more comlpexity.

- structures often have a kind of breaking potential, hit it below that potential, even many times, and it will not break... but hit it above that potential and you wreck it. Kind of like jumping up and down many times will not launch you into orbit because each time is below the escape velocity :)

So the sad truth is you simply got it totally wrong because your idea is outright impossible for more than one reason and highly impractical for even more.


RE: Bigger is not better.
By JonnyDough on 5/18/2010 2:24:43 AM , Rating: 2
There's really no need to be a prick. Really.

It is possible for five projectiles hitting the same exact spot at the same time to be the equivalent of one larger projectile. It would hit with the same amount of force, as it is the same amount of weight. Perhaps it's you who does not have the capacity to think outside the box, or to be civil. If I was a moderator here I would probably warn you to get yourself in check. There's no need for childish outbursts like that in a simple discussion.


RE: Bigger is not better.
By ColomialBoy on 5/18/2010 1:55:48 AM , Rating: 2
There is something else that I find it difficult to believe that no one has brought up - How much good does it do if you get the radar cross-section of the aircraft down to that of a bird? How many birds have you ever heard of that can maintain a speed exceeding several hundreds of MPH in level flight?

Birds and planes can both hover (hummingbirds and Harrier jets come to mind), but the fastest bird around (the Peregrine Falcon) has a top speed of 124mph (which is probably near the stalling speed of most modern jet aircraft).


RE: Bigger is not better.
By DougF on 5/19/2010 10:36:46 AM , Rating: 2
Most radar signal processors are programmed to ignore targets below certain thresholds, such as birds. Otherwise, the operators would see a huge number of false positives. Discriminating for speed might help, but with the stealth design you might only get one reflection and probably no way to get doppler shift from it, either. So, you're left with one small blip appearing, then disappearing, looking exactly like a bird might.


Stealth
By bplewis24 on 5/14/2010 2:43:09 PM , Rating: 2
Thank goodness it's unmanned. Now we don't have to worry about Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel fighting for control of the plane mid-mission and nearly escaping death.

Brandon




RE: Stealth
By callmeroy on 5/14/2010 3:50:20 PM , Rating: 3
mmm....Jessica Biel....

oh sorry what did you say?


RE: Stealth
By hyvonen on 5/19/2010 7:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
I know exactly what you mean


Stealth?
By fishman on 5/14/2010 3:01:24 PM , Rating: 1
Since the plane is unmanned, it will have to send back quite a bit of data of if immediate feedback is needed. This will limit the level of stealtyness the plane can achieve. Of course, there are some missions that could be automated without sending immediate feedback - fly to point A, drop bomb/take pictures, return.




RE: Stealth?
By MadMan007 on 5/14/2010 3:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's unmanned but semi- to highly-autonomous so it won't need constant commands and communication like say a radio controlled airplane.


"Stealth"?
By dgingeri on 5/14/2010 4:42:58 PM , Rating: 3
wasn't there a bad scifi movie about this thing already?




um....
By inperfectdarkness on 5/14/2010 11:52:55 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The U.S. Air Force last year gained their first jet-powered UAV.


did you guys seriously just post this? have we forgotten all about the rq-4? wow. way to go dailytech!




RE: um....
By ekv on 5/15/2010 3:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
You have to expect Jason to pick the more salacious sentence construction, no?

It boils down to a notation problem. UAV = unmanned aerial vehicle. UCAV = unmanned combat aerial vehicle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unmanned_Combat_Air_V...

RQ-4 is definitely UAV. MQ-9 Reaper is definitely UCAV (but NOT jet powered). Avenger is the first jet powered UCAV, though I can't find evidence it's been deployed yet.

But you're correct, the article does state "UAV" where clearly "UCAV" is called for.


By Amiga500 on 5/15/2010 9:49:07 AM , Rating: 3
They decide it wasn't such a bad idea after all...

Unmanned this time of course.

Seeing as Boeing own McAir, I'd guess a healthy dose of A-12 information was used in building this.

Lets hope this program is executed a bit better than the Avenger though!




YES!
By wiz220 on 5/14/2010 3:30:43 PM , Rating: 2
Looks good! If we want to maintain a worldwide fighting force this is definitely the way forward!




er
By kakakuku on 5/15/2010 7:45:20 AM , Rating: 2
what's that ?
so beauty!




Rofl
By atlmann10 on 5/16/2010 12:25:07 AM , Rating: 2
I love the comments that say things like I wonder what's next that is considered top secret. This is not top secret or you would not be seeing it. You need to wonder if they can release information on this, what he top secret ones are.




Flashback!
By Skunkbeard on 5/16/2010 1:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
Anybody remember "Deal of the Century"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deal_of_the_Century




phantom ray
By mosu on 5/17/2010 1:01:52 AM , Rating: 2
Think Avatar, but mechanic(flying machine, no soul intended)




By BZDTemp on 5/17/2010 3:37:35 AM , Rating: 2
Sure it will likely fly but I think recent Boeing track records show "near complete" can be an almost infinite state.




NOW to perfect aerial docking!
By JimCouch on 5/18/2010 2:53:22 PM , Rating: 2
Imagine if this puppy could swing up under a big transport and grab hold, then be reloaded and released! A few hundred of these bad boys over a warzone with high altitude recon, refueling planes etc and these things could stay in the fight until the job is done or they manage to get shot down or have mechanical failure. NO REST FOR THE WICKED! hehe




By monkeyman1140 on 5/21/2010 1:34:27 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure this will be very effective shooting down Taliban and Al Qaeda fighter jets.




What if?
By FPP on 5/21/2010 3:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm always wondering how capable these really are. How much comm capacity do they require and how survivable are they in a higher threat environment? Can they carry a real weapons load (2 JDAMs?...precision attack stuff, laser guided?, etc.?)any significant distance? Are they field - friendly? The best we can hope for is that they will reduce manned sortie rates in a low-intensity conflict.




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