Boeing’s Phantom Ray stealth UAV being shipped to Edwards Air Force Base in California aboard the old 747-based Space Shuttle Transporter.Now that NASA has little need for the shuttle-carrying jet, Boeing persuaded the space agency to modify the plane to carry its stealth drone from St. Louis, Mo., to California. The Chicago-based company expects the drone to take its first flight early this year.
The Phantom Ray is part of Boeing’s internally-funded effort to develop stealthy, combat UAVs. It piggybacks on the company’s old X-45 offering for the Navy’s competition to develop an unmanned combat air system. That plane lost the Navy contest to Northrop’s X-47.