|National origin||United States|
|Built by||Fairchild Aircraft|
|First flight||July 1944|
|Primary user||United States Army Air Forces|
|Developed from||AT-21 Gunner|
The Fairchild BQ-3, also known as the Model 79, was an early unmanned combat aerial vehicle – referred to at the time as an "assault drone" – developed by Fairchild Aircraft from the company's AT-21 Gunner advanced trainer during the Second World War for use by the United States Army Air Forces. Two examples of the type were built and flight-tested, however the progress of guided missiles rendered the assault drone quickly obsolete, and the type was not produced.
Design and development
Development of the BQ-3 began in October, 1942, under a program for the development of "aerial torpedoes", later and more commonly referred to as "assault drones", that had been instigated in March of that year. Fairchild was awarded a contract for the construction of two XBQ-3 prototypes, based largely on the AT-21 Gunner advanced gunnery trainer already in United States Army Air Forces service.
The XBQ-3 was a twin-engined, low-wing aircraft, fitted with retractable tricycle landing gear and a twin-finned empennage; although the aircraft was intended to be operated by radio control with television assist, a two-seat cockpit was included in the design for testing and ferry flights. Power was provided by two Ranger V-770 inline piston engines, providing 520 horsepower (390 kW) each; up to 4,000 pounds (1,800 kg) of bombs could be carried by the aircraft in unmanned configuration.
The first flight of the XBQ-3 took place in July 1944; later that month, one of the prototypes was severely damaged in a forced landing. Despite the accident, flight testing continued; however, the assault drone was determined to have no significant advantage over conventional bombers, and advances in the field of guided missiles were rapidly rendering the concept obsolete. As a result, the program was cancelled towards the end of 1944.
Data from 
- Crew: 1 (optional)
- Length: 52 ft 8 in (16.05 m)
- Wingspan: 37 ft (11 m)
- Height: 31 ft 1 in (9.47 m)
- Gross weight: 15,300 lb (6,940 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Ranger V-770-15 inline piston engines, 520 hp (390 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 220 mph (354 km/h; 191 kn)
- Range: 1,500 mi (1,303 nmi; 2,414 km)
- 4,000 pounds (1,800 kg) warhead
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fairchild Aircraft.|
- Parsch 2003
- Jane's 1947, p.424.
- Ross 1951, p.117.
- Werrell 1985, p.30.
- Craven and Cate 1955, p.254.
- Bridgman, Leonard, ed. (1947). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1947. London: MacMillan. ASIN B000RMJ7FU.
- Craven, Wesley F; Cate, James L, eds. (1955). The Army Air Forces in World War II. Vol. VI, Men & Planes. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. LCCN 48-3657.
- Parsch, Andreas (2003). "Fairchild BQ-3". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones. designation-systems.net. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Ross, Frank (1951). Guided Missiles: Rockets & Torpedoes. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. ASIN B001LGSGX0.
- Werrell, Kenneth P. (1985). The Evolution of the Cruise Missile. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press. ISBN 978-1478363057.