Boeing has rolled out its Phantom Eye high altitude ultra long endurance UAV demonstrator at a ceremony in St Louis.
The hydrogen powered aircraft is designed to be able to fly at altitudes of up to 63,000ft and stay aloft for as long as four days.
“Phantom Eye is the first of its kind and could open up a whole new market in collecting data and communications,” Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works, said at the rollout. “It defines our rapid prototyping efforts and will demonstrate the art-of-the-possible when it comes to persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”
Phantom Eye is powered by a 2.3 litre Ford four cylinder engine, and features a 45.7m wing span and a distended fuselage for the hydrogen storage. The demonstrator will be capable of carrying a 220kg payload of sensors or communications equipment.
The aircraft will be shipped to Edwards AFB in California before commencing flight trials in early 2011.