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Firebee BQM-34A Drone

FIREBEE

One of the world’s most popular target drones, the Ryan BQM-34A Firebee I was the first in Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical’s huge family of target drones. First flown in 1951, it has been used by all three military services. The Air Force’s version was BQM-34A, the Army’s was MQM-34D and the Navy used BQM-34A and the BQM-34S.
     Firebee was a subsonic drone with a maximum speed of 600 knots (690 mph). It operated at altitudes of up to 60,000 feet and traveled at speeds of up to Mach 1.5 for 14 seconds. Its endurance was 45 minutes.
     The Firebee was launched from beneath a specially modified aircraft, from a ship or from a ground launching platform. Surface launching was assisted by a solid-propellant rocket and flight was sustained by a turbojet engine. A parachute was used to recover the craft. Firebee was controlled from either the ground or from a manned aircraft.
     At White Sands, Firebee primarily was used in developing and testing new weapon systems. Probably every U.S. surface-to-air or air-to-air missile has been tested against the Firebee. Firing records show the first Firebee was launched here by the Army in 1961. Between 1961 and 1977 when the records end, the Army and Air Force fired 1101 Firebees, both MQM-34A and BQM-34A.
Length:    22.9 feet
Wingspan:    12.9 feet
Weight:    3,400 pounds
Ceiling:    60,000 feet
Speed:    738 mph (Mach 0.97)
First Firing:    1958
Endurance:    115 minutes