Radioplane Q-1

The Radioplane Q-1 was an American target drone, developed in the early 1950s for the United States Air Force by the Radioplane Company. Originally powered by a pulsejet engine, then later developed as an improved turbojet-powered aircraft, the Q-1 failed to win the favor of the USAF. However, the aircraft provided the basis of the GAM-67 Crossbow anti-radar missile.

Radioplane YQ-1B
Radioplane YQ-1B
Role High-speed target drone
Manufacturer Radioplane Company
First flight 1950
Primary user U.S. Air Force
Number built 34
Developed into GAM-67 Crossbow

Design and development

Shortly after its formation in 1948, the United States Air Force issued a specification calling for a new type of high-speed target drone. Required to be jet-powered to provide the most realistic training, the contract for the development of the drone was given to the Radioplane Company, later a division of Northrop.[1]

Powered by a single Giannini PJ39 pulsejet engine, the drone, given the designation RP-26 by the company and XQ-1 by the USAF, was a high-wing, rocket sled launched aircraft. Originally fitted with a large single vertical stabiliser, the design was modified to a twin tail configuration to provide additional clearance of its carrier aircraft.[1] Recovery, following the conclusion of the drone's flight, was by parachute.[1]

Operational history

The first flight of the XQ-1 prototype took place in 1950; 28 aircraft of the type were built.[1] Although the aircraft proved to be mostly satisfactory, the thirsty nature of the pulsejet engine limited the drone's endurance to a mere 60 minutes.[2] In an attempt to increase the potential flight time of the aircraft, one XQ-1 was re-engined with a Continental YJ69 turbojet replacing the pulsejet, becoming the XQ-1A;[1] however it was determined that further improvements were needed, and so a major redesign of the type was undertaken.[1]

Known by the company as RP-50 and designated by the USAF as YQ-1B, the revised drone flew for the first time during 1953, being evaluated by the Air Force later that year. Using the YJ69 engine, the air intake for the jet was relocated to the nose of the aircraft, while the airframe overall was modified to increase the streamlining of the craft.[1] The rocket-sled launch was abandoned in favor of air launching, with the Douglas DB-26 being the most common carrier aircraft.[1]

Six YQ-1Bs were built for evaluation; they proved trouble-free, no production order for the type was undertaken, the competing Ryan Q-2 drone having been selected for operational service instead; as a result, the Q-1 program was terminated.[1] However, the YQ-1B airframe was used by Radioplane as the start of development of a new anti-radar missile, which would be tested by the U.S. Air Force as the GAM-67 Crossbow.[3]


Initial pulsejet-powered prototype with single tail; later refitted with twin tails. 28 built.[1]
Turbojet-powered version. One modified from XQ-1.[1]
Definitive turbojet-powered version, six built.[1]
Variant planned to be constructed of fiberglass, none built.[1]

Specifications (YQ-1B)

Data from [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None (UAV)
  • Length: 18 ft 4 in (5.59 m)
  • Wingspan: 14 ft 4.5 in (4.382 m)
  • Height: 4 ft 5 in (1.35 m)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,800 lb (816 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Continental YJ69-T-3 turbojet, 880 lbf (3.9 kN) thrust


  • Maximum speed: 345 mph (555 km/h, 300 kn)

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Parsch 2003
  2. ^ Yenne 2004, p.21.
  3. ^ Newcomb 2004, p.72.
  • Newcome, Laurence R. (2004). Unmanned aviation: a brief history of unmanned aerial vehicles. Reston, Virginia: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. ISBN 1-56347-644-4. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
  • Parsch, Andreas (2003). "Radioplane Q-1". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
  • Yenne, Bill (2004). Attack of the Drones: A History of Unmanned Aerial Combat. St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press. ISBN 0-7603-1825-5. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
Globe KD2G Firefly

The Globe KD2G Firefly was a pulsejet-powered American target drone, built by the Globe Aircraft Corporation for operation by the United States Navy in the late 1940s, seeing operational use into the mid-1950s.

List of aircraft (R)

This is a list of aircraft in alphabetical order beginning with 'R'.

List of unmanned aerial vehicles

The following is a list of unmanned aerial vehicles developed and operated in various countries around the world.


Q1 or Q-1 may refer to:

Quarter 1, as in the first quarter of a calendar year or fiscal year

first quartile in descriptive statistics

The first quarto, usually meaning the earliest published version, of one of William Shakespeare's works

Q1 (building), a residential apartment building in Surfers Paradise, Australia

DIGITAL Q1, a digital camera model (Fujifilm)

Q-1 visa, allows individuals traveling to the U.S. to participate in a cultural exchange program

Quake (video game) 1, a 1996 video game

Samsung Q1, an Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC)

Qualifying 1, or first qualifying in Formula 1

Quran 1, the 1st chapter of the Islamic Holy book

Radioplane Company

The Radioplane Company was an American aviation company that produced drone aircraft primarily for use as gunnery targets. During World War II, they produced over 9,400 of their Radioplane OQ-3 model, a propeller-powered monoplane, making it the most-used target aircraft in the US. In the post-World War II era they introduced their Radioplane BTT series, which was produced for years and eventually reached almost 60,000 examples. They also produced several radio control and self-guided missiles, the largest being the GAM-67 Crossbow, which didn't enter service. The company was purchased by Northrop Corporation in 1952, and moved to one of Northrop's factories in 1962. One of the last projects carried out at the original Radioplane factory in Van Nuys, California, was the construction of the Gemini Paraglider.

Teledyne CAE J69

The Teledyne CAE J69 was a small turbojet engine originally produced by Continental Aviation and Engineering (CAE) under license from Turbomeca. The J69 was a development of the Turbomeca Marboré II. It powered a number of U.S. drones, missiles and small aircraft. The engine was later produced by Teledyne CAE. The J69 was also developed into the Teledyne CAE J100 turbojet optimized for operation at higher altitudes.


XQ, X.Q., or Xq can refer to:

SunExpress, a Turkish airline (IATA code XQ)

XQ, a model of Daewoo Royale car

XQ-1, a variant of Radioplane Q-1 drone aircraft

USAF drone aircraft designations 1948–1962


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