Boeing’s liquid hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system has completed its second flight, demonstrating capabilities that will allow it to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions for up to four days without refuelling.
Boeing is self-funding development of the environmentally responsible Phantom Eye, which generates only water as a by-product of its propulsion system.
Following the first flight in 2012, Boeing upgraded the aircraft’s software and hardware, including the landing gear. Phantom Eye climbed above an altitude of 2,438 metres and remained aloft for 66 minutes at a cruising speed of 62 knots before executing a picture-perfect landing.
The aircraft exceeded what it achieved during its first flight when it flew at an altitude of 1,243 feet and remained aloft for 28 minutes.
The Phantom Eye demonstrator is capable of carrying a 450-pound payload while operating for up to four days at altitudes of close to 20,000 metres.