Skip to comments.Boeing unveils unmanned Phantom Ray aircraft
Posted on 05/10/2010 7:36:29 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Boeing Monday unveiled its fighter-sized Phantom Ray unmanned aircraft, which is scheduled to fly in December.
"We are on a fast track, and first flight is in sight," Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works, said in a news release, noting that the program just started two years ago.
Phantom Ray, which evolved from the X-45C program, is designed to be a test bed for advanced technologies and support such missions as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, suppression of enemy air defenses, electronic attack, strike and autonomous aerial refueling, Boeing said.
The Phantom Ray is 36-feet long, with a 50-foot wingspan, a gross weight of 36,500 pounds, an operating altitude of 40,000 feet and a cruise speed of 614 mph (0.8 mach). It is scheduled for taxi tests this summer and, after first flight, nine more flights over about six months.
Craig Brown, Phantom Ray program manager for Boeing, said: "The initial flights will take Phantom Ray through its paces for the flight test profile. Beyond that, the missions and systems tested will be determined by future warfighter needs."
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.seattlepi.com ...
"Do you like surprises, Ben?"
Are you an ace if you are sitting at the console and down five unmanned aircraft?
Years ago I had a strange, detailed dream about a UAV that was about the size of a ‘54 Buick and looked like a manta ray fish, complete with the long trailing “tail”.
It ran on a green gel which would serve as both fuel and explosive payload should the operators wish to use the craft like a cruise missile. There seemed to be something binary about that stuff and that it would remain inert in the tanks until a catalyst was added just as it was injected into the engines or just before it was to detonate.
The “Ray” was armed with a remotely directable select fire light machine gun mounted in it’s “mouth” for strafing or remote sniping, and used a vectored exhaust enabling it to hover, back up, and turn in place.
It had stealth capabilities and could fly at marginally subsonic speed below most radar, following terrain closely. It could easily fly down city streets and turn at intersections, going under overhead wires and crosswalks, and even entering buildings with garage - sized doors.
Guidance was from a satellite and the “tail” served as the antennae for both control reception and to transmit video feedback, intel, and data.
A chemical could be injected into the fuel so as to weaponize the exhaust gas, which in hover or slow flight mode would be vectored downwards onto anyone below.
Armored and built with light weight fabric, resin and ceramic composites, it is radio-opaque and nothing smaller than a .50 BMG could bring it down, and that only if hit in a critical component.
What I never could figure out though was why it was painted a bright yellow.
But then again it was only a dream.
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