Boeing has launched the Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system, which will begin taxi tests shortly.

Developed from the X-45C programme for the US Air Force, the Phantom Ray aircraft will primarily support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

It will also support suppression of enemy air defences, electronic attack, strike operations and autonomous aerial refuelling.

It will undergo its first flight test in December 2010, which will be followed by up to nine additional flights in six months.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security has developed the Phantom Ray in its Phantom Works division.

The programme has received its propulsion and power distribution systems from General Electric-Aviation and the brake system from Honeywell.

Phantom Ray will also be fitted with flight control actuation system from Woodward-HRT, brake controls from Crane Hydro-Aire and landing gear Heroux-Devtek.