Boeing's new medium-altitude unmanned air vehicle successfully completed low-speed taxi tests on 18 November at Lambert International Airport in St Louis, Missouri, the company says.

Phantom Ray, unveiled in May, received orders from its ground control station and autonomously proceeded down the runway several times, Boeing says.

Phantom Ray full 

 © Boeing

"The autonomous nature of this system is unique, so achieving this milestone speaks volumes about the technology and expertise of Boeing, the Phantom Works organisation and the Phantom Ray team," says Dave Koopersmith, vice president of Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft.

The new UAV is now being prepared for a trip to Edwards AFB in California for high-speed taxi tests, after which comes six months of flight testing there. Phantom Ray will travel to California on the back of one of NASA's modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft before the end of the year. Flight tests are expected to begin in early 2011.

Source: Flight International