A fighter-sized unmanned combat airborne system (UCAS), the Phantom Ray, has been unveiled by Boeing.

The Phantom Ray is specifically developed to carry out missions including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, suppression of enemy air defences, electronic attack, hunter / killer and autonomous aerial refuelling.

The airborne system is scheduled to make its maiden flight in December 2010, followed by nine test flights over a period of six months.

Boeing Phantom Ray programme manager Craig Brown said the initial flights would take Phantom Ray through its paces for the flight test profile, while the missions and systems tested would be determined by future warfighter needs.

Phantom Ray is based on Boeing’s larger UCAS aircraft, the X-45C, originally developed for the US armed forces.

Companies that have contributed to the development of Phantom Ray include General Electric-Aviation, Honeywell, Woodward-HRT, Crane Hydro-Aire and Heroux-Devtek.