Boeing’s stealthy delta-wing Phantom Ray UAV made its maiden flight over Edwards Air Force Base April 27th. During the test the Phantom Ray reached 7,500 ft and flew at speeds of up to 178 knots (205mph) for a duration of 17 minutes.
Phantom Ray is a delta-wing unmanned aerial vehicle that evades radar thanks to its sleek profile. The craft is 36 ft long, has a wingspan of 50ft and is designed to cruise at 40,000 ft while reaching speeds of up to 614 mph; which makes it one of the fastest drones on the planet. The drone can carry a payload of around 4,000 pounds.
Last year the Phantom Ray took to the skies for the first time atop a 747 shuttle carrier. Those tests, as well as high-speed taxi tests in March, all helped prepared the drone for its first solo flight.
The recent flight certainly proved the Phantom Ray’s airworthiness, as well the company’s ability to quickly take a concept to prototype, even without military funding.
The Phantom Ray was originally developed to compete for a DARPA contract which eventually went to Northrop Grumman for its X-47B, now being built for the Navy. The X-47B made its first flight in January earlier this year.