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Phantom Ray
The Phantom Ray during its unveiling in St. Louis, Missouri, in May 2010.
Role Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle
Manufacturer Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
First flight April 27, 2011[1]
Status Under development
Number built 1
Developed from Boeing X-45C

The Boeing Phantom Ray is an American demonstration stealth UCAV being developed by Boeing using company funds. The autonomous Phantom Ray is a flying wing around the size of a conventional fighter jet, and first flew in April 2011. It will conduct a program of test flights involving surveillance, ground attack and autonomous aerial refueling missions.[2][3]

Design and development[]

The Phantom Ray project, called "Project Reblue" internally at Boeing, was first conceived in mid-2007, and started in earnest in June 2008. The project was secret within the company, except for a small number of executives and engineers, until May 2009.[4]

Developed by the Boeing Phantom Works, the Phantom Ray is based on the X-45C prototype aircraft,[5] which Boeing originally developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Navy Joint-Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) program in 2002. The Phantom Ray was not aimed at any particular military program or competition,[6] although Boeing may use the design as an entry for the Navy's Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program.[7]

The Phantom Ray was unveiled on May 10, 2010, in St. Louis, Missouri.[3][8] In late November 2010, low-speed taxi tests were carried out in St. Louis.[9][10] The demonstrator aircraft is to perform ten test flights over six months, supporting missions such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack; hunter/killer; and autonomous aerial refueling.[2] Boeing anticipates that the Phantom Ray will be the first of a series of new prototype aircraft.[3]

The Phantom Ray was scheduled to make its maiden flight in December 2010 from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center,[3][9] but this was later rescheduled, and the aircraft first flew on April 27, 2011, from Edwards AFB,[11][12][13] having been carried there by the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.[11][13][14]


Values for the X-45 are marked with an asterisk (*).

Data from Debut,[3] Boeing backgrounder,[15] Airforce Technology X-45,[16] Boeing X-45 page[17]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None (UCAV)
  • Length: 36 ft (11 m)
  • Wingspan: 50 ft (15 m)
  • Max takeoff weight: 36,500 lb (16,556 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × General Electric F404-GE-102D


  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.85
  • Cruise speed: 614 mph (534 kn; 988 km/h) ; Mach 0.8
  • Range: 1,500 mi (1,303 nmi; 2,414 km) *
  • Service ceiling: 40,000 ft (12,192 m) *

See also[]


  1. "PICTURES: Phantom Ray first flight raises funding hopes". May 4, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Boeing to Develop, Fly 'Phantom Ray' Technology Demonstrator". Boeing. May 8, 2009. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Jackson, Randy. "Phantom Ray makes its debut in St. Louis". Boeing. May 10, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  4. Butler, Amy. "Boeing Unveils ‘Phantom Ray’ Combat UAS Demonstrator". Aviation Week. May 11, 2009. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  5. "Boeing's Phantom Ray - the 'Phoenix' of UCAVs". Aviation Week. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  6. "Breaking: Boeing resurrects X-45C as 'Phantom Ray' testbed". May 8, 2009. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  7. "US Navy delays UCLASS RFP". December 11, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  8. Page, Lewis (May 11, 2010). "'Phantom Ray' robot stealth jet rolls out". The Register. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Andrew Doyle (August 25, 2012). "AUVSI: Boeing makes progress with unmanned programmes". Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  10. "Boeing Phantom Ray Completes Low-speed Taxi Tests". Boeing. November 22, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Trimble, Stephen. "Phantom Ray first flight raises funding hopes". Flight International. May 4, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  12. "Video: Phantom Ray Drone Makes Maiden Solo Flight". Popular Science. May 4, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Boeing Phantom Ray Takes a Ride on NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft". Boeing. December 13, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  14. LaBelle, Kurt. "Phantom Ray Takes A Piggy Back Ride On 747". KTVI via December 13, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  15. Phantom Ray Backgrounder (PDF). Boeing. February 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  16. X-45 J-UCAV Joint Unmanned Combat Air System, specifications. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  17. X-45 Joint Unmanned Combat Air System. Boeing. Retrieved June 17, 2013.

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