Fleetwings BQ-1


Fleetwings XBQ-1.jpg
Role Flying bomb
National origin United States
Manufacturer Fleetwings
First flight May 1944
Primary user United States Army Air Forces
Number built 1
Variants Fleetwings BQ-2

The Fleetwings BQ-1 was an early expendable unmanned aerial vehicle — referred to at the time as an "assault drone" — developed by Fleetwings during the Second World War for use by the United States Army Air Forces. Only a single example of the type was built, the program being cancelled following the crash of the prototype on its first flight.


Development of the BQ-1 began on July 10, 1942, under a program for the development of "aerial torpedoes" – unmanned aircraft carrying internal bombs – that had been instigated in March of that year. Fleetwings was contracted to build a single XBQ-1 assault drone,[1] powered by two Franklin O-405-7 opposed piston engines, and fitted with a fixed landing gear in tricycle configuration. The aircraft was optionally piloted; a single-seat cockpit was installed for ferry and training flights; a fairing would replace the cockpit canopy on operational missions.[2] The BQ-1 was intended to carry a 2,000 pounds (910 kg) warhead over a range of 1,717 miles (2,763 km) at 225 miles per hour (362 km/h); the aircraft would be destroyed in the act of striking the target.[1] A single BQ-2 was to be constructed as well under the same contract.[1]

Flight testing

Following trials of the television-based command guidance system using a PQ-12 target drone, and earlier trials of the XBQ-2A, the XBQ-1 flew in May 1944; however, the aircraft crashed on its maiden flight. Following the loss of the lone prototype BQ-1, the project was cancelled.[1]

Specifications (XBQ-1)

Data from [2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 (optional)
  • Wingspan: 48 ft 7 in (14.81 m)
  • Gross weight: 7,700 lb (3,493 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Franklin O-405-7 opposed piston engines, 225 hp (168 kW) each


  • Cruise speed: 225 mph (362 km/h, 196 kn)
  • Range: 1,717 mi (2,763 km, 1,492 nmi)


  • 2,000 pounds (910 kg) warhead

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ a b c d Werrell 1985, p.30.
  2. ^ a b Parsch 2005
  • Parsch, Andreas (2005). "Fleetwings BQ-1/2". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones. designation-systems.net. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  • Werrell, Kenneth P. (1985). The Evolution of the Cruise Missile. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press. ISBN 978-1478363057.