Phan­tom Eye is now “Ex­per­i­men­tal”


Boe­ing’s Phan­tom Eye was pro­moted to ex­per­i­men­tal sta­tus by the US Air Force 412th Op­er­a­tions Group based on the rec­om­men­da­tion of of­fi­cials at NASA’s Dryden Flight Re­search Cen­ter. The liq­uid hy­dro­gen-fu­elled, high al­ti­tude long en­durance (HALE) un­manned air­craft sys­tem (UAS) is a prodigy of sorts, hav­ing earned ex­per­i­men­tal sta­tus af­ter com­plet­ing just six suc­cess­ful test flights.

As an ex­per­i­men­tal air­craft op­er­at­ing within the US Air Force Test Cen­ter, it can now de­part pro­tected air space over Ed­wards Air Force Base, Cal­i­for­nia, for a test range sev­eral kilo­me­tres away to com­plete its en­durance and al­ti­tude test­ing.

“Grad­u­at­ing from un­proven to ex­per­i­men­tal sta­tus is cru­cial to Phan­tom Eye suc­cess­fully reach­ing its test­ing goals this year, so we can bring this ca­pa­bil­ity to the mar­ket,” said Phan­tom Eye Pro­gramme Man­ager Brad Shaw. “Meet­ing NASA’s strin­gent safety cri­te­ria in six flights is re­flec­tive of their con­fi­dence in the Phan­tom Eye team’s hard work and ded­i­ca­tion in ma­tur­ing our sys­tem to this point.”

Phan­tom Works’ Ad­vanced Boe­ing Mil­i­tary Air­craft team is pre­par­ing for more Phan­tom Eye test flights in the com­ing months de­signed to achieve the pro­gramme’s in­tended goal of more than 60,000 feet (18,288 me­tres) in al­ti­tude, while also in­creas­ing en­durance with each flight.

The Phan­tom Eye demon­stra­tor is de­signed stay air­borne longer than any other un­manned HALE air­craft cur­rently in pro­duc- tion. Fol­low­ing test­ing of the demon­stra­tor air­craft, a full-size op­er­a­tional ver­sion of Phan­tom Eye could be built, which is ex­pected to stay air­borne for seven to 10 days.

No other sys­tem holds the prom­ise of of­fer­ing on-de­mand, per­sis­tent in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance (ISR), com­mu­ni­ca­tions and earth-sens­ing tech­nol­ogy to any re­gion in the world, at a very af­ford­able cost.

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