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Supersonic target — Ryan’s BQM34F Firebee II

28 September 2012

Supersonic target — Ryan’s BQM34F Firebee II

Sleek is the word for the Ryan Firebee II suspended in the Air Force Armament Museum — photo by Joseph May

Ryan developed the Firebee II as a supersonic drones which could be flown  as missile targets and carried electronics to imitate radar signatures as well as rate missile scores. Catapulted from a rail or dropped from a mothership it could fly as low as 50 feet (15.2m) and be controlled from as far away as 200 miles (320km). Recovery was the same as with the subsonic Firebee drones, suspended from a parachute and  snatched by a helicopter — with recovery from water was a back-up plan.

High visibility red marks this drone as a target — photo by Joseph May

Firebee II profile shows a length to width ratio of a supersonic design — photo by Joseph May

This Firebee II is displayed in the Air Force Armament Museum and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has this fact sheet.

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