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Radioplane OQ-2

Aerial Target Drone

Radioplane OQ-2

Aerial Target Drone


The Radioplane OQ-2 aerial target drone was the first quantitative UAV purchase for the United States.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1941
MANUFACTURER(S): Radioplane Company - USA
OPERATORS: United States

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Radioplane OQ-2 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 8.69 feet (2.65 meters)
WIDTH: 12.24 feet (3.73 meters)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 110 pounds (50 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Righter O-15-1 two-cylinder, two-cycle air-cooled 6 horsepower engine.
RANGE: 62 miles (100 kilometers; 54 nautical miles)
CEILING: 997 feet (304 meters; 0.19 miles)


Series Model Variants
• RP-1 - Initial company model of 1935
• RP-2 - Company model of 1938
• RP-3 - Modified RP-2 of 1939
• RP-4 - Modified RP-3 of 1939
• RP-5 - Company model of 1941
• OQ-1 - Initial production version for US Army; 53 units produced.
• OQ-2 - Definitive production version based on RP-5 model; nearly 15,000 units produced.
• OQ-3 - Improved variant evolved from OQ-2
• OQ-14 - Improved variant
• TDD-1 - USN designation for OQ-2
• TDD-2 - USN designation for OQ-3
• TDD-3 - USN designation for OQ-14


Detailing the development and operational history of the Radioplane OQ-2 Aerial Target Drone.  Entry last updated on 1/19/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Today's multi-billion dollar UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and drone industry held some rather modest roots in early forays centered on the world of unmanned flight. Indeed, the United States military's first quantitative UAV became the Radioplane OQ-2. The compact aircraft appeared in 1939 - just prior to World War 2 (1939-1945), and was built in approximately 15,000 units to serve under the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) flag. Some were also purchased by the United States Navy (USN).

Radioplane produced the prototype RP-1 ("Radioplane Model 1") to showcase to the United States Army in 1935, the intent to sell the aircraft as a training tool for anti-aircraft gunners. Such specialists were required to hit a moving target several miles up with cannon fire and it seemed an adequate thought that having a remote-piloted aircraft in training would make for more accurate gunners on the ground. In 1938 came the RP-2 company model, a much improved product the company purchased from Walter Righter. This design then evolved as the RP-3 and RP-4 under the Army's direction.

It was the final RP-4 form that the Army elected to purchase in number under the OQ-1 designation, formally bringing along the first model of American UAV. Some 53 of the type were eventually ordered. Following this was the RP-5 company model which was also accepted into Army Air service and US Navy as the OQ-2 (US Navy TDD-1).

The OQ-2 utilized a conventional aircraft arrangement with a high-mounted, straight monoplane wing assembly sat upon a boxy, slab-sided fuselage. The tail unit incorporated a single vertical fin with low-set horizontal planes. The wheeled undercarriage was fixed and of the "tail-dragger" configuration with the main legs showcasing small landing wheels (this undercarriage was only seen on early batch forms - otherwise all were landed via a parachute arrangement including the U.S. Navy batch). At the nose of the design was a Righter O-15-1 model two-cylinder, two-cycle engine developing the needed six horsepower output. This provided the aircraft with a maximum speed of 85 miles per hour with an endurance time of roughly one hour. Bendix manufactured the required RC control system. Overall length was 8 feet, 8 inches with a wingspan of 12 feet, 3 inches and gross weight of 105lbs.

The OQ-2 served as the basis for many other related UAV marks which ended with the OQ-14. The Radioplane name would last until 1952 to which defense powerhouse Northrop purchased the company and inherited its assets.

As an aside, Radioplane was born as Reginald Denny Industries, a company formulated by ex-British World War 1 airman (and aspiring actor) Reginald Denny who emigrated to the United States during the inter-war period in search of acting jobs in Hollywood. Along with collaborators, Denny opened the Reginald Denny Hobby Shop in Hollywood and this then became the Radioplane Company which marketed the OQ-2.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Radioplane OQ-2's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (14,891)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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