Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Copyright © 2002 Andreas Parsch

USAF FDL BQM-106 Teleplane

Beginning in 1975, the USAF's Flight Dynamics Laboratory (FDL) designed and built the FDL-33 series of small experimental RPVs under the designation XBQM-106, sometimes called Teleplane. The Teleplane vehicles tested several wing, nose, tail and engine configurations, and evaluated RPV equipment and technologies like a fluidic autopilot, seeker/warhead options for expendable strike missions, light-weight composite construction and low-observables (stealth) technology.

Photo: USAF
XBQM-106 (early configuration)

The XBQM-106 vehicles were relatively small drones powered by a low-power piston engine driving a pusher propeller. The first vehicles had a McCulloch MC-101 engine, but most of the later ones used a Herbrandson Dyad 220 two-cylinder two-stroke engine. The fuselage was of pod-and-boom design, and the whole airframe was of non-metallic construction. The Teleplane was started from a pneumatic catapult launcher and recovered by a normal skid landing. It had a radio-command guidance system for full control from the ground, but could also fly autonomously on autopilot. The downlink transmitted telemetry data and video imagery from a nose-mounted TV camera.

Photo: Dave Gossett
XBQM-106 (Teledyne Ryan design)

At least 23 XBQM-106 vehicles in 13 different variants were built, including at least two designed by Teledyne Ryan. In January 1984, new designations were allocated to then current configurations of the FDL-33 vehicle. The XBQM-106A was built by Digital Design Inc., and had a cylindrical tail boom, a high wing of slightly reduced span and a T-tail. The XBQM-106A also had a parachute system which could be used as an alternate recovery method. The XBQM-106B was an FDL-modified XBQM-106A, which lacked the latter's parachute landing option and had a tailboom with an elliptical section. It was used for pilot proficiency training. The XBQM-106C was an experimental modification of the XBQM-106B with a new tail, which had the horizontal stabilizer relocated to the mid of the vertical fin. The whole XBQM-106 test and development program ended in early 1986.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for XBQM-106, XBQM-106A:

Length2.74 m (9 ft)3.07 m (10 ft 1 in)
Wingspan3.7 - 4.9 m (12 - 16 ft)3.63 m (11 ft 11 in)
Height0.66 m (2 ft 2 in)0.84 m (2 ft 9 in)
Weight34 - 59 kg (75 - 130 lb)106 kg (235 lb)
Speed?185 km/h (100 kts)
Ceiling?3000 m (10000 ft)
Endurance?5 hours
PropulsionMcCulloch MC-101 single-cyl. two-stroke piston engine Herbrandson Dyad 220 two-cyl. two-stroke piston engine; 13.5 kW (18 hp)

Main Sources

[1] Kenneth Munson: "World Unmanned Aircraft", Jane's, 1988
[2] William Wagner, William P. Sloan: "Fireflies and other UAVs", Midland Publishing, 1992
[3] Department of Defense Missile Nomenclature Records

Back to Current Designations Of U.S. Unmanned Military Aerospace Vehicles
Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles

Last Updated: 24 December 2002