Radioplane MQM-33

After Worald War II, the Radioplane followed up on the success of the OQ-2 Target Drone with another very successful series of piston-powered target drones. These would become known as the Basic Training Target (BTT) family (the BTT designation was not created until sometime in the 1980's but is used as a convieient way to resolve the tangle of military designations). The BTTs remained in service for the rest of the 20th century and were the predecessors to the now widely used remote controlled drone aircraft.

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Specifications

Primary Function: Basic Target Trainer
Power Plant: 1 × McCulloch O-100-2, 72 hp (53 kW) each
Wingspan: 11 feet 6 inches
Length: 13 feet 7 inches
Service Ceiling: 23,000 feet
Height: 2 feet 7 inches
Weight: Gross: 403 lbs; Empty: 273 lbs
Range: 207 miles
Endurance: 1 hour
Maximum Speed: 202 mph
Manufactured by: Radioplane
Status: Static Display
Owner: Estrella Warbird Museum

History

This MQM-33 was literally "dropped off at the museum" quite lacking in completion but full of potential. The basic Target Trainer was restored by volunteers on our restoration crew.

There were numerous radio controlled target or target towing drones. Most began their life during the late 1940's, and evolved through a series of refinements within the US Army with designations of OQ-19A through OX-19D, and the US Navy name of Quail (designated KD2R). Early models had metal fuselage and wooden wings but production standardized on all-metal aircraft.

During 1963, when the US military adopted a standardized designation system, the surviving US Army BTT variants became MQM-33s and the KD2R-1, the only member of the family still in Navy service, became the MQM-36 Shelduck.

The MQM-36 was the most evolved of the BTT family, but retained the same general configuration as the other members. It was larger and more sophisticated than the first-generation OQ-2A series, and was powered by a more powerful flat-four four-stroke McCulloch piston engine with 95 horsepower. The MQM-36 carried Luneberg lens radar enhancement devices in its wingtips that generated a radar signature of larger aircraft. Launch was by RATO booster or bungee catapult, and recovery was by parachute.

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