Boeing’s first unmanned, liquid-hydrogen-powered, high altitude long endurance (HALE) demonstrator aircraft will be ready to head out next year, as the company has already started working on it. Dubbed the Phantom Eye, the aerial vehicle will feature a “breakthrough liquid-hydrogen propulsion system” that has just recently gone through an 80-hour test in an altitude chamber. Boeing is also developing a fighter-sized UAV named Phantom Ray, scheduled for its first flight in December, which will put advanced technologies to a stern test.
Dave Koopersmith, Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft vice president, said…
We believe Phantom Eye and Phantom Ray represent two areas where the unmanned aerial vehicle market is heading, and rapid prototyping is the key to getting us there. These innovative demonstrators reduce technology risks and set the stage for meeting both military and commercial customers’ future needs.
The twin-engine Phantom Eye demonstrator will capably stay aloft for more than four days at altitudes up to 65,000 feet while carrying a payload of up to 450 pounds. A 150-foot wingspan will help it to plot a route in the stratosphere for intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance and communication purposes. Boeing also seeks to develop a larger HALE that can stay in the aerial mode for more than 10 days and carry payloads of more than 2,000 pounds.