Target drone

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Ryan BQM-34 Firebee jet-propelled drone, used as a target drone.

A target drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle, generally remote controlled, usually used in the training of anti-aircraft crews.[1]

One of the earliest drones was the British DH.82 Queen Bee, operational from 1935. Its name led to the present term "drone".

In their simplest form, target drones often resemble radio-controlled model aircraft. More modern drones may use countermeasures, radar, and similar systems to mimic manned aircraft.[2]

More advanced drones are made from large, older missiles which have had their warheads removed.

In the United Kingdom, obsolete Royal Air Force and Royal Navy jet and propeller-powered aircraft (such as the Fairey Firefly, Gloster Meteor and de Havilland Sea Vixen used at RAE Llanbedr between the 1950s and 1990s) have also been modified into remote controlled drones, but such modifications are costly. With a much larger budget, the U.S. military has been more likely to convert retired aircraft or older versions of still serving aircraft (e.g., QF-4 Phantom II and QF-16 Fighting Falcon) into remotely piloted targets for USAF, USN and USMC use as Full Scale Aerial Targets or FSATs.[3][4]

QF-4E from the 82d Aerial Targets Squadron detachment at Holloman AFB, flying manned at a McGuire AFB air show in May 2007 with an A-10A in the background.

List of target drones[edit]

See also[edit]