PHOTO: War paint for Phantom Ray

Phantom Ray Boeing.JPGFive years ago, the Boeing X-45 and Northrop Grumman X-47 dueled for US Air Force and Navy contracts worth billions of dollars under the long-defunct joint unmanned combat air systems (J-UCAS) program.

The J-UCAS program is dead but the picture above shows how the X-45/X-47 competition lives on.

Boeing has released a new photo showing the Phantom Ray — a company-funded descendant of J-UCAS. The unmanned demonstrator is scheduled to begin a series of 10 test flights in December.

Phantom Ray is designed to carry a 4,500lb payload in two internal bays, with the option of two 2,000lb JDAMs or an intelligence sensor (either a synthetic aperture radar or electro-optical/infrared). The aircraft could be applied to a variety of different requirements, Daryl Davis, president of Boeing advanced systems, told reporters. A scaled-up and optionally-manned version could be offered for the US Air Force’s long-range strike requirement. The demonstrator above might provide the USAF a replacement for the Predator/Reaper family, he says.

Meanwhile, the other former J-UCAS competitor is also expected to enter flight test in December. Northrop’s X-47B has a contract worth more than $1 billion to demonstrate that a stealthy, tailless planform can land autonomously on a carrier deck. The X-47B will also participate in autonomous air refeuling trials.

Boeing also has submitted the Phantom Ray to the Department of Defense as a candidate for demonstrating that a unmanned air vehicle can be refueled in-flight, Davis says.

If anything, maybe it means the billions of dollars spent on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s series of J-UCAS in the first half of the last decade won’t be wasted after all.

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8 Responses to PHOTO: War paint for Phantom Ray

  1. Moose 2 March, 2010 at 5:51 am #

    Certainly looks the part. Lethal.

  2. sferrin 3 March, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    Interesting how J-UCAS was killed but both airframes kept moving forward. I wonder, if Boeing were to develop this to it’s logical conclusion, would it be allowed to market it internationally.

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  4. Shawna Tangney 24 July, 2010 at 3:00 am #

    Technology is getting more amazing as time passes. I cant wait to see whats being created 10 years down the road. Electronics have been devolping at such a rapid rate. Noone can expect whats coming next.

  5. Mohammad Latz 24 July, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Technology is getting more amazing as time passes. I cant wait to see whats being created 10 years down the road. Electronics have been devolping at such a rapid rate. Noone can expect whats coming next.

  6. Mutuelle santé 15 September, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Behind the billions dollars for the experience , It should have been here and able to adapt mission. But I think there will be a more advance model if that one failed.

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