Fleetwings BQ-2

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XBQ-2
Fleetwings XBQ-2A.jpg
Role Flying bomb
National origin United States
Manufacturer Fleetwings
First flight 1943
Primary user United States Army Air Forces
Number built 1
Variants Fleetwings BQ-1

The Fleetwings BQ-2 was an early expendable unmanned aerial vehicle — referred to at the time as an "assault drone" — developed by Fleetwings during the Second World War for use by the United States Army Air Forces. Only a single example of the type was built; the aircraft was deemed too expensive for service and was cancelled after a brief flight testing career.

Development

Development of the BQ-2 began on July 10, 1942, under a program for the development of "aerial torpedoes" - unmanned flying bombs - that had been instigated in March of that year. Fleetwings was contracted to build a single XBQ-2 assault drone,[1] powered by two Lycoming XO-435 opposed piston engines, and fitted with a fixed landing gear in tricycle configuration;[2] the landing gear was jettisonable for better aerodynamics.[1]

The BQ-2 was optionally piloted; a single-seat cockpit was installed for ferry and training flights; a fairing would replace the cockpit canopy on operational missions.[2] The BQ-2 was intended to carry a 2,000 pounds (910 kg) warhead over a range of 1,717 miles (2,763 km) at 225 miles per hour (362 km/h); the aircraft would be destroyed in the act of striking the target.[1] A single BQ-1 was to be constructed as well under the same contract.[1]

Flight testing

The XO-435 engines were dropped from the design of the XBQ-2 before completion, being replaced by two Lycoming R-680 radial engines, with the aircraft being redesignated XBQ-2A.[3]

Following trials of the television-based command guidance system using a PQ-12 target drone, the XBQ-2A flew in mid 1943; following flight trials, the design was determined to be too expensive for operational use, and the program was cancelled in December of that year.[2]

Specifications (XBQ-2A)

The XBQ-2A.

Data from [2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 (optional)
  • Wingspan: 48 ft 7 in (14.81 m)
  • Gross weight: 7,700 lb (3,493 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Lycoming R-680-13 radial piston engines, 280 hp (210 kW) each

Performance Armament

  • 2,000 pounds (910 kg) warhead

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d Werrell 1985, p.30.
  2. ^ a b c d Parsch 2005
  3. ^ Andrade 1979, p.60.
Bibliography
  • Andrade, John (1979). U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Leicester, UK: Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Parsch, Andreas (2005). "Fleetwings BQ-1/2". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones. designation-systems.net. Retrieved 2013-01-22.
  • Werrell, Kenneth P. (1985). The Evolution of the Cruise Missile. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press. ISBN 978-1478363057.
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