Boeing's experimental unmanned "Phantom Ray" drone is scheduled for testing in 2010. Either Boeing is out of military-sounding code names or it, too, is caught up in the comic book craze that's seized Hollywood.
Surprising no one, the Phantom
Menace Ray parent program (X45-C) is funded entirely by DARPA to the tune of $US942 million.
The Ray is designed to do a number of things all by its lonesome, including bombing runs, surveillance and autonomous mid-air refueling. Top speed? 0.85 Mach. Ceiling is 40,000 feet. It can carry 4,500-lbs., which hopefully does not include any chips on its shoulder for its human designers. Unless Jessica Biel is involved. Then by all means go to town. [Boeing, Image]