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Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) (1982)


Aviation / Aerospace

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Jump-to: Specifications

Despite it never seeing production, just under 1 billion USD was spent on developing the Lockheed Aquila UAV.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/01/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The MGM-105 Aquila (Eagle) TADAR (Target Acquisition, Designation and Aerial Reconnaissance) was the first United States Army attempt at securing a reusable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) capable of conducting a range of mission types. The Aquila was originally developed as "Little R" by Lockheed Missiles and Space Company beginning in the 1970's. Army specifications called for a cost-effective system of small size able to provide the US Army with real-time aerial reconnaissance, target acquisition, artillery observation and laser designation. Unfortunately for the Aquila - and the US Army and Lockheed itself for that matter - the MQM-105 became a bloated and expensive project that never lived up to expectations, forcing the entire development effort to be cancelled.

By 1974, Lockheed and the US Army had partnered for development of the new UAV. In December of 1975, flyable prototypes emerged as the XMQM-105A. By August of 1979, the US Army was fully onboard with the Aquila project and rewarded Lockheed with a contract based on the prototypes. The follow-up developmental model appeared in July of 1982 as the YMQM-105A.

The Aquila design fitted a swept-back wing to a flat fuselage shape housing the UAVs payload and engine. The engine was a Herbrandson Dyad 280B 2-stroke system delivering 24 horsepower to a pusher-type propeller system housed in the rear of the fuselage. On board systems included a fixed daytime TV-camera with an integrated autotracker. A laser designator was also included. A night-vision system utilizing FLIR was planned but never enacted. Communications was provided for via a datalink and video downlink. Performance from the piston engine allowed a top speed of 130 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 14,800 feet and an in-flight time of 3 hours.

Launching was accomplished via a catapult system mounted onto a truck while retreival was via an erected netting to catch the incoming Aquila upon return. Net height was adjustable to protect the vehicle's profile and the Aquila was fitted with infrared sensors that automatically brought led itself into the netting.

As may be expected in such pioneering efforts, the Aquila project met with its own inherent deficiencies. Several Aquilas were lost or damaged in crashes while the cost of the project seemingly ballooned with each passing month to go along with changing mission parameters.

The MGM-105 project was officially cancelled in 1987 despite nearly 1 billion dollars sunk into the project. Some 376 Aquila's were slated to be built. Lockheed was also considering an export version.

Specifications



Service Year
1982

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Status
RETIRED
Not in Service.
Crew
None

Production
1
UNITS


Lockheed Missiles and Space Company - USA
National flag of the United States United States (retired)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Special Forces
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.
Unmanned Capability
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.


Length
6.8 ft
(2.08 m)
Width/Span
12.7 ft
(3.88 m)
Height
3.3 ft
(1.00 m)
Empty Wgt
265 lb
(120 kg)
MTOW
441 lb
(200 kg)
Wgt Diff
+176 lb
(+80 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR production variant)
Installed: 1 x Herbrandson Dyad 280B 2-stroke piston engine developing 24 horsepower.
Max Speed
130 mph
(210 kph | 113 kts)
Ceiling
14,764 ft
(4,500 m | 3 mi)
Range
249 mi
(400 km | 741 nm)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
None.


XMQM-105A - Prototye Designation
YMQM-105A - Developmental Model
MQM-105 "Aquila" - Proposed Production Model Designation
"Altair" - Proposed Export Sales Model


General Assessment
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
40
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (130mph).

Graph average of 113 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Design Balance
The 3 qualities we look at for a balanced aircraft design are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (1)
1
36183
44000
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history (Ilyushin IL-2 and Cessna 172, respectively).
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