Beechcraft MQM-61 Cardinal
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Beechcraft MQM-61 Cardinal
MQM-61 Cardinal
Beechcraft MQM-61A Cardinal.jpg
Role Target drone
United States
Manufacturer Beechcraft

The MQM-61 Cardinal was a target drone designed and built by Beechcraft.


While the Radioplane BTT was a popular piston-powered target, such a simple target was relatively easy to build and it developed competition. In 1955 Beechcraft designed the Model 1001, as the initial version of this target drone was designated, in response to a US Navy requirement for gunnery and air-to-air combat training. Production of the type began in 1959, with the drone being given the Navy designation of KDB-1, later MQM-39A. The Model 1001 led to the similar Model 1025 for the US Army, which gave it the MQM-61A designation. Beech also designed a variant powered by a turbojet engine and designated Model 1025-TJ, but nobody bought it.[1]

The MQM-61A was a simple monoplane with a vee tail. It was substantially larger than the MQM-36 Shelduck, and powered by a 94 kW (125 hp) McCulloch TC6150-J-2 flat-six, air-cooled, two-stroke piston engine driving a two-blade propeller. It could tow banners or targets of its own, with two targets under each wing, and also carried scoring devices. Launch was by RATO booster, recovery was by parachute.[2]

A total of 2,200 Cardinals of all variants were built, the majority for the US Army, with the rest operated by the US Navy, the US Marine Corps.[3]

Specifications (MQM-61A)

Data from Vectorsite[1]

General characteristics


A KDB-1 is launched from USS Boston

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 15 ft 1 in (4.60 m)
  • Wingspan: 13 ft 0 in (3.95 m)
  • Height: 3 ft 4 in (1.02 m)
  • Gross weight: 664 lb (301 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × McCulloch TC6150-J-2, 125 hp (94 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 350 mph (560 km/h)
  • Endurance: 1 hours
  • Service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,100 m)


  1. ^ a b Greg Goebel (August 2011). "BEECH MQM-39A / MQM-61A CARDINAL". Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "MQM-61A Cardinal". 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "A History Of Drones". UAV Systems International. 2018. Retrieved 2018.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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