Starting development in 1957, the CT.41 used a canard configuration, with a short, straight wing located at mid-fuselage with wingtip-mounted ramjet engines. Launched using an elevating ramp, two solid rocket boosters provided initial thrust upon launch, with the ramjets igniting at a speed of Mach 1.7.Command guidance was used for control; the aircraft could be fitted with electronic enhancers and flares to boost its target signature. Two types were produced, the CT.41A for high-altitude use, and the CT.41B for low-altitude training. If the drone was not shot down, recovery was via parachute.
The CT.41 began test flights during 1959, with production starting later that year; 62 aircraft were constructed for use by the French Air Force. They had only a brief service life before being retired due to being too fast to provide practical training for interceptor pilots. Hawker Siddley acquired a manufacturing license for the type in November 1960. Six were acquired by Bell Aircraft for evaluation by the United States Navy; Bell also acquired a production license for the type, which in 1962 received the U.S. designation PQM-56A. The PQM-56A was out of service by the early 1970s.