Phantom Ray flies again

Washington DC
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Boeing has announced the second flight of the Phantom Ray demonstrator.

The event took place on 5 May at NASA Dryden in California, said Phantom Works president Darryl Davis. "Both flights that we did on Phantom Ray achieved all their objectives," he added.

Boeing initially funded 10 flights of Phantom Ray to demonstrate the aircraft; further flights are contingent upon funding from government customers. "We had indicated we were looking for some government funding to proceed," said Davis. "We have been talking to a number of customers."

 
 © Boeing

Though Boeing would not elaborate on what organisation is interested in the aircraft or why, the company has been "working it pretty hard" to find interested parties, and believes the advanced unmanned air vehicle is likely to find buyers.

Davis also hinted at future use as an advanced Boeing testbed for future advanced technology programmes. "We are looking at, could we use Phantom Ray to demonstrate some of the things a navy UCLASS [unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike aircraft] might do?"

The Phantom Ray is not designed to take-off and land from aircraft carriers, but the US Navy's UCLASS programme also includes an autonomous aerial refuelling demonstration.