Boeing Phantom Eye
High Altitude, Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
The Phantom Eye will provide commanders with aerial reconnaissance for up to four straight days.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Boeing claims that their unique Phantom Eye UAV will promote a four-day loiter time and reach altitudes in excess of 65,000 feet - atmosphere territory only until recently was reserved for jet-powered, manned aircraft. Its cargo hold is expected to net a payload carrying capacity of 450lbs to 500lbs.
It is perhaps Ford Motor Company's contribution to the Phantom Eye program that offers up her unique stance in the world of UAV products. The aircraft is fitted with a pair of engines that are also found in the civilian Ford Fusion line of automobiles. Unlike their combustible brethren, however, this version of the Fusion engine have been highly modified to take advantage of liquid-hydrogen propulsion technology, resulting in what seems to be a more economical UAV propulsion alternative.
The Phantom Eye was first unveiled for public consumption on July 12th, 2010 in a Boeing display at their St Louis, Missouri facility. Ground testing of the aircraft was expected to commence by the end of 2010 at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center of Edwards Air Force Base in California. From there, Phantom Eye is scheduled for a first flight to be conducted sometime in 2011. Not one to sit on their laurels in the competitive UAV market, Boeing is also pursuing other UAV projects that include a larger version of the Phantom Eye slated to push the endurance boundary even further - by as much as 10 days according to sources, and carry an even larger internal payload of specialized equipment.
Technically, the Phantom Eye is referred to by Boeing as a "High Altitude, Long Endurance" (otherwise abbreviated to "H.A.L.E.") unmanned aerial vehicle. As Boeing looks to its future, the UAV market seems to play a major role in its sustainment on the modern battlefield and the Phantom Eye - or the technology garnered from its development - should power company shares for some time to come.
To those students of military aviation that recognize the potential of such revolutionary products as the Boeing Phantom Eye, this is a far cry from the "Scout" biplane air mounts utilized by the military forces of World War 1 to reconnoiter the enemy - these aircraft struggling just to exceeding 100 miles per hour with 15,000 foot service ceilings while sporting three hour endurance times less than 100 years ago.
In February of 2014, the Phantom Eye had its status revised by the USAF to experimental service with the 412th Operations Group.