Posted : Monday Aug 2, 2010
The newest model unmanned aerial vehicle made by Boeing Co. has a wingspan as long as a C-130, can carry both intelligence sensors and weapons, and is powered by a hydrogen engine that keeps it flying for up to 10 days.
The propeller-driven Phantom Eye is headed to the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for ground tests in September before a test flight in early 2011, said Drew Mallow, the Boeing official overseeing development of the aircraft. The aircraft should be ready to fly by 2013.
Like the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk, Phantom Eye can collect intelligence from 65,000 feet, but its loiter time over a target could be four to 10 times longer. It is slower, though, and will hold a smaller payload.