The design of the Boeing Phantom Eye UAV is definitely a case of form following function. It looks a bit strange and ungainly, and it has been a while since I’ve seen an aircraft designed to use a launch cradle, but it is all part of the mission. The Phantom Eye is designed for ultra-long-range, ultra-long-endurance flight, powered by two hydrogen fueled piston engines. It is a bit bulbous since it is pretty much a flying fuel tank for cryogenic hydrogen, which requires a sturdy, insulated pressure vessel. Using a launch cradle (it lands with a nose gear and a belly skid) eliminates the weight and complexity of landing gear; which is, after all, dead weight except during takeoff and landing. Every pound eliminated is a pound of payload, or increased endurance.