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YQM-98 R-Tern
Compass Cope R
Role Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Manufacturer Ryan Aeronautical
First flight August 1974
Status Canceled
Primary user United States Air Force
Developed from AQM-91 Firefly

The Ryan YQM-98 R-Tern (also called Compass Cope R was a developmental reconnaissance drone developed by Ryan Aeronautical. It could take off and land from a runway like a manned aircraft, and operate at high altitudes for up to 24 hours to perform surveillance, communications relay, or atmospheric sampling.

Contents

Design and development

Compass Cope was a program initiated by the United States Air Force in 1971 to develop an upgraded reconnaissance drone that could take off and land from a runway like a manned aircraft, and operate at high altitudes for up to 24 hours to perform surveillance, communications relay, or atmospheric sampling. Two aircraft, the Boeing YQM-94 Compass Cope B, and the Ryan Aeronautical YQM-98A Compass Cope R participated in the program.

Boeing was originally selected as a sole source for the Compass Cope program, with the USAF awarding the company a contract for two YQM-94A (later YGQM-94A) demonstrator vehicles. However, Ryan then pitched the Model 235 as an alternative, and the next year, 1972, the Air Force agreeably awarded Ryan a contract for two YQM-98A (later YGQM-98A) demonstrators as well.

Ryan's entry into the competition was the "Model 235", an updated variant of the Model 154 / AQM-91 Firefly. The YQM-98A's general configuration was similar to that of the Boeing Compass Cope B, resembling a jet sailplane with a twin-fin tail, retractable tricycle landing gear, and an engine in a pod on its back. The engine was a Garrett YF104-GA-100 turbofan, with 4,050 pound (1,835 kg) thrust. The Compass Cope R had a clear resemblance to the Model 154, though its wings were straight instead of swept.

Initial flight of the first Compass Cope R demonstrator was in August 1974. However, the Boeing Compass Cope B won the competition in August 1976 on the basis of lower cost, with the company awarded a contract to build preproduction prototypes of the "YQM-94B" operational UAV.

Since the evaluation of the Compass Cope prototypes had shown the YQM-98A to be superior to the YQM-94A in some respects, Ryan challenged the award. It did them no good, since the entire Compass Cope program was cancelled in July 1977, apparently because of difficulties in developing the sensor payloads for the aircraft.

Specifications (Compass Cope R)

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 37 ft 4 in (11.4 m)
  • Wingspan: 81 ft 2 in (24.75 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 0 in (2.4 m)
  • Gross weight: 14,310 lb (6,480 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Garrett YF104-GA-100, 4,050 lbf (18.1 kN)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 500 mph (800 km/h)
  • Range: 14,000 miles (22,531 km)
  • Endurance: ca. 28 hours

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

References

  • This article contains material that originally came from the web article Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Greg Goebel, which exists in the Public Domain.

External links

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