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Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)


United States | 1982



"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; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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Firepower
Performance
Survivability
Versatility
Impact
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.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
1 x Herbrandson Dyad 280B 2-stroke piston engine developing 24 horsepower.
Propulsion
130 mph
210 kph | 113 kts
Max Speed
14,764 ft
4,500 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
249 miles
400 km | 216 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
None
(MANNED)
Crew
6.8 ft
2.08 m
O/A Length
12.7 ft
(3.88 m)
O/A Width
3.3 ft
(1.00 m)
O/A Height
265 lb
(120 kg)
Empty Weight
441 lb
(200 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR family line.
XMQM-105A - Prototye Designation
YMQM-105A - Developmental Model
MQM-105 "Aquila" - Proposed Production Model Designation
"Altair" - Proposed Export Sales Model
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 1 Units

Contractor(s): Lockheed Missiles and Space Company - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (retired) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (130mph).

Graph Average of 113 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
1
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
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
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
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Image of the Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR
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Image of the Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR
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Image of the Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR
Image from the United States Army archives.
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Image of the Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR
Image from the United States Army archives.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
RECONNAISSANCE
SPECIAL FORCES
UNMANNED
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila TADAR Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) appears in the following collections:
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