Phantom Eye is a liquid hydrogen-fueled, high-altitude and long-endurance unmanned aircraft system for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and communications missions.
The demonstrator aircraft is capable of maintaining its altitude for up to four days while carrying a 450-pound payload. Typical payloads include multiple sensor packages for monitoring, tracking and communications.
A full size Phantom Eye variant is designed to stay aloft for up to ten days and carry a payload of 2,000 pounds.
Phantom Eye is Boeing’s first unmanned, liquid-hydrogen powered, high altitude long endurance (HALE) demonstrator aircraft. Phantom Eye is designed to maintain a persistent presence in the stratosphere over a specific area, while performing missions that could include intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance and communication. Phantom Eye evolved from Boeing’s earlier success with the piston-powered Condor that set several records for altitude and endurance in the late 1980s.
Boeing, as the Phantom Eye system designer, is working closely with Ball Aerospace, Aurora Flight Sciences, Ford Motor Co. and MAHLE Powertrain to develop the Phantom Eye demonstrator.
Boeing also is developing a larger HALE that will stay aloft for more than 10 days and carry payloads of more than 2,000 pounds, and building “Phantom Ray,” a fighter-sized UAV that will be a flying test bed for advanced technologies. Phantom Ray evolved from the X-45C program.
It was scheduled to make its first flight in December 2010.
Boeing’s liquid hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system completed its second flight 25 February 2013, demonstrating capabilities that will allow it to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions for up to four days without refueling. During the flight, at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Phantom Eye climbed above an altitude of 8,000 feet and remained aloft for 66 minutes at a cruising speed of 62 knots before landing. The aircraft exceeded what it achieved during its first flight when it flew at an altitude of 4,080 feet and remained aloft for 28 minutes.