Featured Links

Plan Your Visit
E-newsletter Sign-up
Explore Museum Exhibits
Browse Photos
Visit Press Room
Become a Volunteer
Air Force Museum Foundation

Ryan BQM-34F Firebee II

The original BQM-34 Firebee II filled U.S. Navy requirements for a supersonic target to train aircrews and to test new weapons systems. The Firebee II retained many of the same basic systems as the highly-successful, subsonic Firebee I. The U.S. Air Force began receiving its BQM-34F version in the early 1970s. Ryan built nearly 300 Firebee IIs for the U.S. military.

The BQM-34F was launched from the ground with a rocket booster or dropped from a modified C-130. It was normally recovered with the Mid-Air Retrieval System (MARS), which included a specially equipped helicopter that hooked the BQM-34F’s 80-ft diameter parachute as it descended. If it landed in water, the Firebee II could float for several hours until it was recovered.

The Firebee II on display (69-3374) was retired from active service with the 6514th Test Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah, in August 1978.

Engine: Continental YJ69-406 turbojet with 1,920 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: Mach 1.5 dash (for 4 minutes at 60,000 feet)
Endurance: 73 minutes
Service ceiling: 50-60,000 feet
Weight: 2,460 lbs. maximum

Click here to return to the Research & Development Gallery


Find Out More
360-degree Virtual Tour
View the BQM-34F on Display
Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.