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The AQM-38 is a missile developed by the United States of America.

Overview

The origins of the AQM-38 lie in the RP-70 radio controlled drone which Northrop developed in the 1950s. A purely developmental model, the drone was never produced in this form but did lead to the production of its RP-76 successor. The RP-76 entered service with the US Army in 1959, usually launched from F-89 Scorpion aircraft as a target for surface-to-air missiles. It was powered by an Aerojet solid-fuel rocket, giving a flight at high subsonic speed for almost 10 minutes. Controlled by an automatic system in flight, the missile could also be guided by radio. The fuselage was fitted with a fixed horizontal tailplane below the tail and three forward control fins. A two stage parachute allowed it to land once the mission was completed. A Luneberg lens was fitted to increase the radar signature, along with an RPTA-1 tracking aid.

The US Navy produced a modified version, the RP-78, which had a higher thrust rocket to allow speeds of up to Mach 1.25.

In 1963 the missiles were given the designations AQM-38A and AQM-38B. More than 2,000 of these missiles were built, with the last ones being retired in the mid-1970s.

Specifications

RP-76/AQM-38A :

  • Length : 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan : 1.52 m (5 ft)
  • Height : 0.46 m (1 ft 6.2 in)
  • Diameter : 30 cm (12 in)
  • Weight : 136 kg (300 lb)
  • Speed : Mach 0.94
  • Ceiling : 18,300 m (60,000 ft)
  • Endurance : 9 minutes under power; 23 minutes total
  • Propulsion : Aerojet 530NS35 solid-fuel rocket, thrust 160 N (37 lbf)

RP-78/AQM-38B :

  • Length : 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan : 1.52 m (5 ft)
  • Height : 0.46 m (1 ft 6.2 in)
  • Diameter : 30 cm (12 in)
  • Weight : 136 kg (300 lb)
  • Speed : Mach 1.25
  • Ceiling : 24,000 m (78,700 ft)
  • Endurance : 9 minutes under power; 23 minutes total
  • Range : 70 km (44 miles)
  • Propulsion : Solid-fuel rocket; 440 N (100 lbf)

See also

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