Combat Air Museum banner
TOPEKA REGIONAL AIRPORT @ FORBES FIELD, TOPEKA, KANSAS
Combat Air Museum "Wing"
Ryan Firebee BQM-34A "Drone" top section
Ryan Firebee BQM-34A "Drone" bottom section
Ryan Firebee BQM-34A "Drone"
Return button

The primary mission of Firebee was to simulate tactical threats by enemy aircraft and missiles for defense readiness training, air-to-air combat training and the development and evaluation of weapons systems. It could fly as fast as Mach 0.97, at levels as low as 10 ft above the sea surface, or at altitudes as high as 60,000 ft. It was capable of performing seven-g turns while maintaining high airspeeds for realistic threat presentations. With its high-thrust engine, advanced microprocessor flight control system, rugged airframe, and wide assortment of mission augmentation systems, the BQM-34 Firebee was the premier high performance aerial target system in use during the 1960's. It could be readily modified to meet other special tactical UAV mission needs. Such performance, with the ability to survive the hits and near misses of repeated missions and return to fly again, explains why the Firebee has been in constant use by two American military services for more than five decades.

The Firebee at the Combat Air Museum was recovered in Nebraska in three main pieces and will be restored jointly by Museum volunteers and by the Washburn Institute of Technology Auto Collision students, beginning in August 2012, to it's original configuration and paint scheme. It will be mounted outside the main hangar at the Museum.

TECHNICAL NOTES  
Manufacturer: Ryan Aeronautical Company (later Teledyne-Ryan; today Northrop Grumman)
Model: Firebee BQM-34A
Basic Role: High-speed target drone for both surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles
Length: 22.9 ft (6.9 m)
Height: 6.7 ft (2.1 m)
Range: 600 miles
Wing Span 12.9 ft (3.9 m)
Normal Gross Weight: 2,150 lbs (975.3 kg)
Max. Gross Weight: 3,100 lbs (1,406.2 kg)
Speed (Max): 710 mph (1,140 km/h)*
Service Ceiling: 60,000 ft (18.3 km)*
Endurance: Up to 75 Minutes
Launch Means: Both air and ground launch configurations
Engine: 1 × Continental J69-T-29A, 1,700 lbf (7.6 kN)
  *(Dependent on configuration and flight scenarios)
Ryan Firebee Wings reconstructed
Before and after wing restoration by the Washburn Institute of Technology Auto Collision students May 2013
Ryan Firebee BQM-34A "Drone" wings
Return button
Copyright © 2008-2013 Combat Air Museum