Lockheed AQM-60 Kingfisher
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|AQM-60 Kingfisher awaiting loading onto its B-50 mothership before a test of US air defenses.|
|National origin||United States of America|
|First flight||April 1951|
|Primary user||United States Air Force|
|Developed from||Lockheed X-7|
The AQM-60 Kingfisher, originally designated XQ-5, was a target drone version of the USAF's X-7 test aircraft built by the Lockheed Corporation. The aircraft was designed by Kelly Johnson, the designer who later went on to create the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and its relatives, such as the Lockheed A-12 and Lockheed YF-12.
The X-7's development began in 1946 after a request from the USAF for a Mach 3 unmanned aerial vehicle for test purposes. This unmanned test craft eventually evolved into the Kingfisher when the need arose for a target to test anti-missile systems such as the MIM-3 Nike Ajax, SAM-A-25/MIM-14 Nike Hercules, and IM-99/CIM-10.
The Kingfisher was capable of evading the vast majority of weapons systems it was used to test, despite the systems being designed to destroy hypersonic missiles in flight. This created a significant amount of embarrassment at the USAF, resulting in considerable political fallout, which led to the eventual discontinuation of production in 1959 and the cancellation of the project entirely in the mid-1960s.
- Length: 38 ft 1 in (11.6 m)
- Wingspan: 9 ft 10 in (3 m)
- Height: 6 ft 11 in (2.1 m)
- Gross weight: 7,937 lb (3,600 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Marquardt XRJ43-MA ramjet (Sustainer)
- Powerplant: 2 × Thiokol XM45 (5KS50000) solid-fuel rockets, 50,000 lbf (222 kN) thrust each for 5s (Boosters)
- Maximum speed: Mach 4.3
- Range: 113 nmi; 130 mi (210 km)
- Service ceiling: 98,000 ft (30,000 m)
- Area 51 - Black Jets: A History of the Aircraft Developed at Groom Lake, Bill Yenne 2014, p.95
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- Directory of US Military Rockets and Missiles