Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Copyright © 2002-2003 Andreas Parsch

Nord/Bell CT.41/PQM-56

In 1957, Nord Aviation in France began the development of the CT.41 supersonic aerial target, which was ready for production in mid-1959. The CT.41 was powered by twin ramjets, boosted to Mach 1.7 ramjet ignition speed by two solid-fuel rocket motors, and recovered after the mission by parachute. It could reach a speed of about Mach 3, and was controlled by a two-way radio-command link and an onboard autopilot. To simulate a bomber aircraft, the CT.41 could be fitted with various simulation equipment, like multi-band radar transponders and infrared flares. A total of 62 CT.41 vehicles were built in France.

Photo: via Ordway/Wakeford
CT.41 (PQM-56A)

In the United States, Bell acquired license-production rights on the CT.41, after the U.S. Navy had expressed interest in the target. Bell-built CT.41s were used by the Navy for a relatively short time during the 1960s, and in June 1963, the targets were designated as PQM-56A. By the early 1970s, the CT.41 was no longer operational with the U.S. Navy.


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

Data for PQM-56A:

Length9.78 m (32 ft 1 in)
Wingspan3.66 m (12 ft)
Diameter51 cm (20 in)
Height2.18 m (7 ft 2 in)
Weight (w/o booster)1300 kg (2860 lb); booster: 1250 kg (2760 lb)
SpeedMach 3.1
Ceiling20000 m (65000 ft)
Endurance14 min.
PropulsionBooster: 2x solid-fueled rocket motor
Sustainer: 2x Type 625 ramjet (76 cm (30 in) diameter)

Main Sources

[1] Frederick I. Ordway III, Ronald C. Wakeford: "International Missile and Spacecraft Guide", McGraw-Hill, 1960
[2] Norman J. Bowman: "The Handbook of Rockets and Guided Missiles", Perastadion Press, 1963
[3] R.T. Pretty, D.H.R. Archer (eds.): "Jane's Weapon Systems 1972-73", Jane's, 1973
[4] E-Mail from Alexis Rocher, quoting "Revue Aérospatiale" magazine, N66, 1990

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

Last Updated: 19 January 2003