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

Boeing CQM/CGM-121 Pave Tiger/Seek Spinner

In early 1983, Boeing received a development contract for the YCQM-121A Pave Tiger drone. The Pave Tiger program was begun to develop an expendable mini-drone to supress enemy air-defense systems. 14 YCQM-121A vehicles were built and flight-tested during 1983/84, but the Pave Tiger program was terminated in late 1984.

The YCQM-121A was a small drone powered by a two-stroke piston engine, and was stored and transported in launch containers with 15 individual missile cells. To lauch a drone, the doors of a cell were dropped, a rail with the air vehicle was extended, the wings were unfolded, and the drone was launched with the assist of a solid-propellant rocket booster. The YCQM-121A flew a preprogrammed mission using its microprocessor-based navigation system. It could carry sensors and ECM equipment to detect and harass air-defense units, and could also be equipped with a warhead to destroy a detected threat.

Drawing: via Jane's

In 1987, the Air Force was directed to evaluate an upgraded version of the YCQM-121A under the Seek Spinner program. The resulting YCGM-121B vehicle was specifically designed to seek and destroy enemy air-defense radars, and was considered as a low-cost alternative to the AGM-136 Tacit Rainbow then in development. The YCGM-121B was flight tested in the 1987/89 time frame, and had the ability to loiter over a designated target area until a radar emitter was detected. The Seek Spinner program was cancelled in 1989, but the AGM-136 Tacit Rainbow was later cancelled, too.

Photo: Museum of Aviation

In the late 1980s, Boeing marketed their BRAVE (Boeing Robotic Air Vehicle) 200 system, which was based on the Pave Tiger/Seek Spinner drones. However, the BRAVE 200 was apparently not procured by any military customer. Another variant of this drone family was evaluated by the USAF as CEM-138 Pave Cricket.


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

Data for YCQM-121A, YCGM-121B:

Length2.12 m (6 ft 11.4 in)
Wingspan2.57 m (8 ft 5 in)
Height0.61 m (2 ft)
Weight (w/o booster)130 kg (280 lb)200 kg (450 lb)
Speed320 km/h (200 mph); loiter speed 145 km/h (90 mph)
Ceiling3000 m (10000 ft)
Range> 800 km (500 miles)480 km (300 miles)
Endurance8 h?
PropulsionCuyuna 438 cc two-stroke piston engine; 21 kW (28 hp)
Booster: solid-propellant rocket
WarheadHigh explosive (optional)18 kg (40 lb) high explosive

Main Sources

[1] Kenneth Munson: "World Unmanned Aircraft", Jane's, 1988
[2] YCGM-121B BRAVE 200 "Seek Spinner" at U.S. Air Force Museum Website

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Last Updated: 8 November 2002