The Phantom Ray unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) is a fighter-sized technology demonstrator designed as a flying test bed for advanced technologies. Under the Phantom Ray technology demonstration program the unmanned aircraft will conduct 10 flights over a period of approximately six months, supporting missions that may include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, suppression of enemy air defenses, electronic attack, hunter/killer, and autonomous aerial refueling.

NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747, carries Boeing's Phantom Ray during a test flight on Dec. 13 in St. Louis. Photo: NASA

Following taxi tests at St. Louis the Phantom Ray unmanned aircraft was packed on the Boeing 747 shuttle plane that regularly carries the Space Shuttle, to fly the 1,800 mile journey to Edwards Air Force Base in California, where is is scheduled to go through 10 flight tests over the next six months.

The Phantom Ray demonstration tests are scheduled to complete before the beginning of carrier suitability tests of a parallel Navy program – the X-47B, developed by Northrop Grumman.

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