Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones
Copyright © 2006 Andreas Parsch

Lockheed QF-80 (Q-8)

In 1946/47, three P-80A Shooting Star fighters were converted to radio-controlled drones. These were later designated as QF-80A. In the 1950s, additional F-80As and Cs were converted to QF-80A and QF-80C high-speed target drones. The QF-80F was a modernized version with improved radio-control equipment and a runway arrestor hook. Several QF-80s were used for sampling of radioactive material from mushroom clouds of nuclear tests.

Photo: via Jos Heyman

In December 1953, the Wright Air Development Center (WADC) had requested to replace the designation QF-80 by Q-8A, Q-8B and Q-8C. Although only the QF-80A designation was explicitly mentioned once in the request (mostly the drone was simply referred to as QF-80), the request's subject were obviously three different drone configurations. It's possible that these were the QF-80A, -80C and -80F. WADC argued that the existing QF-80 nomenclature led to unnecessary problems and delays in the production and support of the drones, because they were too easily confused with unmodified F-80 aircraft. However, the ARDC (Air Research & Development Command) did not concur with this reasoning, and turned the request down in March 1954. Because the Q-8 designation was not re-used otherwise, the #8 slot in the Q-series remained unassigned (see also Q-7). The 1953/54 Q-8 request also proves that an earlier Q-8A designation, reportedly briefly used in 1948 to redesignate a few remaining PQ-8A Cadet drones, has either never existed or has been cancelled for later re-use.


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

Data for QF-80C:

Length10.49 m (34 ft 5 in)
Wingspan11.81 m (38 ft 9 in)
Height3.43 m (11 ft 3 in)
WeightEmpty: 3800 kg (8400 lb)
Speed956 km/h (594 mph) (at sea level)
Ceiling14300 m (46800 ft)
PropulsionAllison J33-A-35 turbojet; 24 kN (5400 lb)

Main Sources

[1] USAF Aircraft Nomenclature Records
[2] René J. Francillon: "Lockheed Aircraft since 1913", Putnam, 1987

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 1

Last Updated: 25 November 2006