Last week Boeing unveiled the Phantom Eye, a hydrogen powered unmanned spy plane. The aircraft is designed to be constantly deployed in the stratosphere over a specific area, while providing intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance and communication.
This state of the art UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is equipped with a liquid-hydrogen propulsion system that powers two four-cylinder truck engines. Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works explains,
"It's basically a Ford Ranger truck engine converted to burn liquid and gaseous hydrogen."
The engines each provide 150 horsepower, combined with a 150 ft wingspan, allow the UAV to cruise at approximately 150 knots while carrying a 450 lb payload. This highly efficient aircraft is also capable of staying aloft at 65,000 ft for up to four days and it's only byproduct is water.
The Phantom Eye is headed to Edwards Air Force Base in California later this summer to begin ground testing in preparation for its debut flight which is scheduled for 2011. Officials expect the first flight to last between 4 and 8 hours.
Boeing is also working on a larger UAV that will stay be capable of staying in the air for 10 days.
Images via Boeing Phantom Works Communications