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Phantom Ray - Future of UAV's?

The Phantom Ray is a stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle developed by Boeing using company funds and is currently being used as a testbed for UAV technologies. It made its first flight in December last year and is currently being used in a series of 10 test flights over six months involving a myriad of battlefield duties such as surveillance, ground attack, and autonomous in-air refueling.

The Phantom Ray is derived from the X-45C aircraft. It is fairly large, being 36 feet long and having a wingspan of 50 feet (about 4 cars placed horizontally side-by-side). The aircraft weighs about 36 500 pounds and flies at a cruising speed of 614 mph, one-eight of the speed of sound.

The Phantom Ray will not go into service as a combat aircraft but will instead only be used as a testbed. Nevertheless, with its sleek form and white paint job, the Phantom Ray definitely looks like an aircraft of the future.

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