is looking to fly its company-funded Phantom Eye hydrogen-fueled, long-endurance unmanned aircraft in late October or early November at Edwards AFB, Calif.
The twin-engine, 150-ft.-wingspan demonstrator is due to be rolled out onto the dry lakebed at Edwards this weekend for an integrated fueling, engine run and defueling test.
“This will be the first time we have fully fueled the aircraft with liquid hydrogen, run the engines, shut them down and defueled,” says Darryl Davis, Boeing Phantom Works president.
First flight of the Phantom Eye has been slipped four weeks to the last week of October or first week of November to allow more software and mission-related testing “to be ultra-sure,” he says.
The goal of the internally funded program is to demonstrate up to four days of endurance at 65,000 ft. The aircraft will not have a payload for these flights, but is being looked at as a testbed for payloads now under development.
“There is a lot of interest, for different uses,” Davis says. “We are looking at communications relay and potential sensor payloads, including for missile defense.”
The Phantom Eye could be used to flight test an aerial layer network communication payload now being prototyped by the Phantom Works, he says.
Boeing completed two company-funded flights of the Phantom Eye at Edwards earlier this year, but has parked the tailless flying wing after failing to secure a customer to fund further flights.