Phantom Works is Boeing’s secret(ish) in-house development arm, tasked with engineering, prototyping, and building classified projects, often for the U.S. military. Its vice president is Alan Wiechman, an engineer whose CV includes the Lockheed Have Blue, F-117 Nighthawk, and the Sea Shadow ship. And Wiechman headed up the Bird of Prey’s development and design.
The single-seater jet was developed on the cheap–relatively speaking–coming in at around $67 million. Part of that cost savings came from using off-the-rack components, like the Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5C turbofan engine, nixing the expensive fly-by-wire systems in favor of hydraulics, and by using computer modeling–one of the first applications for an aircraft.