Note: This aircraft is located in the Research & Development Gallery on a controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Click here for requirements to visit this gallery.
The AQM-34L reconnaissance drone was developed from the BQM-34A jet-powered, subsonic target drone first produced in 1960. It was one of a series of remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) used for combat reconnaissance in Southeast Asia.
The AQM-34L was air-launched and controlled from a DC-130 director aircraft and flown on low-level photographic missions over North Vietnam. After a mission, the RPV was directed to a safe recovery area where its parachute was deployed. The Firebee was then either retrieved in mid-air by helicopter or recovered from land or water.
The RPV on display was damaged by a North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile and landed in the sea of North Vietnam. Recovered by a U.S. Navy ship, it was damaged by salt water beyond economical repair. The AQM-34L's nickname, Mr. Ling, was a pun on the last name of Lt. Col. Edwin G. Emerling, who was involved with the drone's early combat missions.
Engine: Teledyne Continental J-69 of 1,920 lbs. thrust Maximum Speed: 645 mph Range: 750 miles Ceiling: 50,000 feet