Phantom Works logo Phantom Works logo

Phantom Works

Creating a Future Aligned to Customer Needs

For more than 100 years, Boeing has continually found newer and better ways to provide the best products and services to our customers and meet their needs where they are today — and where they will need to be tomorrow.

Phantom Works, Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s advanced research, development and prototyping division, has answered the call by dedicatedly investing in facilities, people, technology and techniques – allowing us to offer the most advanced weapons systems in the industry.

Propelled by a team with an innovative spirit that transcends cultures, Phantom Works pushes beyond perceived limits and embraces taking risks to deliver strategically disruptive, innovative, sustainable and production-ready capabilities to the Warfighter.

We believe the phrase “it can’t be done” is a myth, and our team eagerly takes on the toughest challenges, bringing cutting-edge technologies to life – from seabed to outer space.

Collage of Phantom Works projects

Programs & Capabilities

The future of the defense industry will be defined by innovations in how we design, build, deliver and maintain next-generation products for our customers.

While Phantom Works creates intrigue with its proprietary projects and vehicles, we are more than just classified programs. We fuel the development of leading-edge, disruptive products and capabilities across the defense industry, including: new missile design and development, industry-leading modeling and simulation capabilities utilizing Boeing’s Virtual Warfare Centers, digital engineering, open system architectures, artificial intelligence, autonomy, collaborative technologies, hypersonics, directed energy, network solutions, advanced sensing, command, control and communications capabilities and the high ground of space-based defense and security.

Special Programs command center interior
Special Programs & Capabilities
Fixed Wing
Fixed Wing
Phantom Work Vertical Lift program
Vertical Lift
Illustration of missile
Globe with connecting lines
Multi Domain Integration
Stylized globe
Phantom Works logo
Factory of the future
Production System of the Future

Production System of the Future

Imagine a future in which our platforms are digitally designed and compatible with the next generation of production innovation – all produced on a common production line. A future where our platforms can autonomously bring more firepower to the fight at significantly lower cost. Where our customers have a common experience across all Boeing products.

Building on best practices from some of the industry’s most advanced manufacturing programs such as the 777X, MQ-28A Ghost Bat, MQ-25 Stingray, T-7A Red Hawk, and numerous classified and proprietary programs, Boeing Phantom Works is enabling just that with its “Production System of the Future.”

Several new factories will integrate the latest advancements in model-based engineering, automation, augmented and virtual reality, full-sized determinant assembly, modularity and more to improve first-time quality, reduce costs and enable flexibility.

Connected with modular tooling, a reconfigurable layout and full digital thread integration, the Production System of the Future for advanced combat aircraft programs includes:

  • A purpose-built Advanced Composite Fabrication Center in Mesa;
  • Laboratory and Test facilities in St. Louis;
  • An Advanced Assembly Facility in St. Louis;
  • A new, advanced post-assembly Center in St. Louis.
Advanced Composite Fabrication Center (Mesa)
Advanced Composite Fabrication Center

Purpose-built classfied facility to produce advanced composite components for future combat aircraft

Specialized Lab & Test (St. Louis)
Specialized Lab and Test

Purpose-built classified facilities meeting requirements for future platform systems testing

Advanced Coatings Center (St. Louis)
Advanced Coatings Center

Purpose-built classified facility with advanced robotics for repeatable, consistent coating and treatment application

Advanced Assembly Facility (St. Louis)
Advanced Assembly Facility

Upgrades to flexible, classified assembly space with supporting capabilities for advanced aircraft assembly and integration

Factory of the future

A Legacy of Pushing the Boundaries of Innovation

Herman Barkey

Thirty years ago, Herman Barkey, the “father” of the F-4, started a special projects team called “Phantom Works” that anticipated future needs and created advanced technologies.

Since then, the innovative spirit of Phantom Works transcended cultures by taking risks and anticipating future needs that have blazed the trail for the next generation of advanced technology, leading to revolutionary products like the Bird of Prey, X-45A, X-37, X-51A Waverider, Phantom Ray, Phantom Eye and more recently the T-7A Red Hawk, XLUUV, Wave Glider, MQ-25 Stingray and advanced space satellites & systems.

Boeing Phantom Works continues to create the unimaginable and make investments so the right technology will be ready when the customer needs it, whether it be tomorrow or decades into the future.

Success Stories

T-7A Red Hawk

Leveraging technologies and advanced manufacturing processes the T-7A advanced trainer was the first Air Force jet designed digitally from the ground up, from concept to first flight in 36 months.

Boeing Australia has built the first of three Loyal Wingman aircraft, which will serve as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System being developed for the global defense market. The aircraft are designed to fly alongside existing platforms and use artificial intelligence to conduct teaming missions. (Boeing photo)
MQ-28 Ghost Bat

Prototyped as the Airpower Teaming System, the MQ-28 Ghost Bat is a pathfinder for the integration of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence that extends air combat and other missions.

MQ-25 Stingray

Building upon Phantom Work’s efforts in unmanned air vehicle concepts, the MQ-25 is the world’s first operational, carrier-based unmanned aircraft and provides aerial refueling and ISR capabilities.


The X-45 was the first highly autonomous, unmanned air system designed for combat operations in a network-centric environment– paving the way for the future of unmanned aircraft.

Bird of Prey
Bird of Prey

Phantom Works’ Bird of Prey, which flew in the 1990s by use of rapid prototyping, proved that it was possible to implement radar evasion attributes and low-observability thresholds in fighter planes.


The Protected Tactical Enterprise Service (PTES) group is running fully agile software development and implementing containerized software to meet DevSecOps requirements.

Globe with connecting lines
Multi Domain Integration

We’ve successfully leveraged open architectures to create a roadmap for shared software across platforms, and completed a demonstration of a containerized fusion algorithm in the F/A-18 and F-15.

X-51A Waverider
X-51A Waverider

The X-51A completed the longest air-breathing scramjet-powered hypersonic flight ever at a top speed of Mach 5.1 – proving the practical application of hypersonic technology.

Phantom Ray
Phantom Ray

Based on the X-45, the Phantom Ray was a stealth unmanned combat air vehicle part of a rapid prototyping initiative to design, develop and build advanced aircraft.


The XLUUV improves upon autonomous underwater vehicle technologies by operating for months at a time without physical human contact and in congested waters.



    Inside Boeing’s multibillion-dollar bet

    October 11, 2023
    In a recent interview with trade publication Breaking Defense, Boeing’s Steve Nordlund, vice president of Air Dominance and St. Louis senior site executive, shared why the company — even amid struggles on multiple fronts — is investing billions of dollars into new facilities to support potential future combat aircraft programs.

    Read More >

    Boeing Begins Construction on New Phantom Works Facility

    May 26, 2023
    The new Advanced Coatings Center will be a secure facility operated by Phantom Works, Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s proprietary research, development and prototyping division. The construction phase of the 47,500 square-foot facility is underway, and the center is expected to be operational in 2025.

    Read More >

    Boeing Reveals First of New Innovative Defense Factories

    September 13, 2022
    The Phantom Works Advanced Composite Fabrication Center opens in Arizona - First in a series of new innovative factories being built by BDS - Will enable flexible, secure and scalable production of advanced combat aircraft

    Read More >

    Boeing, Nammo Complete Long-Range Ramjet Artillery Test

    August 9, 2022
    Successful test demonstrates viability of extended-range artillery

    Read More >

    Boeing, Nammo Conduct Successful Ramjet 155 Artillery Tests

    May 11, 2022
    Extended range projectile supports U.S. Army modernization priority

    Read More >