Boeing has announced plans to field an unmanned aerial flying test bed, called Phantom Ray, to be used to develop advanced air system technologies. According to a May 8 company release, the Phantom Ray demonstrator, which will make its first flight in December 2010, will make use of the X-45C prototype vehicle that Boeing developed for the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System program. Boeing is funding this new effort internally. Darryl Davis, president of Boeing’s Phantom Works, said that the company’s goals for the new program “clearly demonstrate our commitment to rapid prototyping and are an important part of the company’s efforts to be a leader in the unmanned aircraft business.” The company plans to “incorporate the latest technologies into the superb X-45C airframe design,” said Dave Koopersmith, vice president of Boeing Advanced Military Aircraft.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.