The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today unveiled the hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system, a demonstrator that will stay aloft at 65,000 feet for up to four days. Later this summer, Phantom Eye will be shipped to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to begin a series of ground and taxi tests in preparation for its first flight in early 2011. That debut flight is expected to last between four and eight hours.
With a 150-foot wingspan, Phantom Eye will cruise at approximately 150 knots and can carry up to a 450-pound payload. It is powered by two 2.3-liter, four-cylinder hydrogen fuelled engines that provide 150 horsepower each. “The hydrogen propulsion system will be the key to Phantom Eye’s success” said Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works, “It is very efficient and offers great fuel economy, and its only byproduct is water, so it’s also a ‘green’ aircraft.”
“Phantom Eye is the first of its kind and could open up a whole new market in collecting data and communications,” said today at the unveiling ceremony in St. Louis. Key Phantom Eye suppliers and partners include Ford Motor Company (engines), Aurora Flight Sciences (wing), Mahle Powertrain (propulsion controls), Ball Aerospace (fuel tanks), Turbosolutions Engineering (turbochargers), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA.
More on the Phantom Eye on Defense-Update.com