After only two years of development, the Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system (UAS) was unveiled at a ceremony in St. Louis on May 10. Built by Boeing in St. Louis, the sleek, fighter-sized UAS combines survivability with a powerful arsenal of new capabilities.
“Phantom Ray offers a host of options for our customers as a test bed for advanced technologies, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack and autonomous aerial refueling - the possibilities are nearly endless,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
With a 50-foot wingspan and measuring 36 feet long, Phantom Ray was designed and developed by Boeing Phantom Works based on a prototype the company had originally created less than a decade ago for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/U.S. Air Force/U.S. Navy Joint-Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) program. Using a rapid-prototyping approach, Phantom Ray evolved into the technology demonstrator unveiled today on the floor of Boeing’s St. Louis facility.
“We’re really excited about this because Phantom Works is back as a rapid prototyping house, operation and organization,” said Craig Brown, Boeing Phantom Ray program manager. “This is the first of what I expect to be many exciting prototypes, and they’re all with exciting technology.”
Financed entirely by Boeing, Phantom Ray is a testament to the company and its Phantom Works division’s commitment to becoming the leader in the global unmanned systems market.
“Phantom Ray represents a series of significant changes we’re making within Boeing Defense, Space & Security,” said Darryl Davis, president of Phantom Works. “For the first time in a long time, we are spending our own money on designing, building and flying near-operational prototypes. We’re spending that money to leverage the decades of experience we have in unmanned systems that span the gamut from sea to space.”
This aircraft is on-schedule to take its first taxi tests later this summer and soar through its initial flight profiles as early as December, continuously gaining ground toward becoming an unmanned system that could one day penetrate enemy forces and provide a new specter of security for the warfighter.
Explore further: Researchers design a new system to make overtaking safer on highways