Skip to main content

Boeing Phantom Eye Spyplane to Emit Only Water

Last Monday Boeing unveiled the Phantom Eye, the prototype of a hydrogen-powered spy plane the company says will coast at 65,000 for four straight days. The unmanned lightweight aircraft features two 2.3 liter four-cylinder engines from Ford, providing 150 hp each. The Phantom Eye has a wingspan of 150 feet, and can carry up to 450 pounds of cargo. According to Boeing, cruising speed is a slow-and-steady 170 miles an hour.

The Phantom Eye is powered by an array of hydrogen fuel cells. As it surveys the landscape, at an altitude beyond the range of even the most advanced anti-aircraft missiles, the spy plane will emit only water.

"Later this summer", the Phantom Eye will take a trip to Edwards Air Force base for ground testing. The maiden flight is scheduled for next year, and shouldn't last longer than eight hours. Barring any sudden shift in Boeing or the U.S. government's timetable, production should commence by 2012 at the latest.

Boeing Unveils Unmanned Phantom Eye Demonstrator

  • dokiardo
    I may have missed the point, but what is the point? Is it a precurser of things to come for aviation? Only 450lbs is rather dismal. Running engines on Hydrogen isnt a very big deal... What am I missing here?
    Reply
  • dokiardo
    Alright, figure out what I was missing. The whole first darnned paragraph. Four whole days of flight? That is some cool recon. But wouldn't arial recon be better by using satelites?
    Reply
  • is emitting only water means it's less likely to be detect (compare with regular 'spy plane') or means it's environmental friendly?
    Reply
  • Warsaw
    Didn't I just see this exact same article a couple days ago?

    But other than that, very cool. Maybe will lead to a few nifty in the future ;).
    Reply
  • cpburns
    "...at an altitude beyond the range of even the most advanced anti-aircraft missiles..."

    Phantom Eye, meet the SM-2.
    Reply
  • archange
    You're all missing the point: the US Military are finally making a stride for the Green: put enough of these things in the air to counter the hordes of A1 Abrams out there. Oh, wait...
    Reply
  • swamprat
    The solar-powered one that can fly indefinitely (until shot down) seemed a bit more impressive, although that might be smaller - they could probably build a big one too though.
    Reply
  • aje21
    Ah, but did nobody notice that this thing has two Ford four cylinder engines AND an array of hydrogen fuel cells... I'm going to assume that the fuel cells are OK for cruising and powering the various avionics, etc. systems but not up to take-off and climbing to working altitude.
    Reply
  • asjflask
    Great job using hydrogen fuel cells. Millions of dollars gone in a split second when that thing explodes. Not to mention the environmental damage.
    Reply
  • roleki
    asjflaskGreat job using hydrogen fuel cells. Millions of dollars gone in a split second when that thing explodes. Not to mention the environmental damage.Ah yes, who but a madman would use a combustible material to fuel a vehicle?

    Er, wait.
    Reply