Type: Advanced technology tactical medium-range unmanned aerial reconnaissance system
Powerplant: 1 x 455 kgp (1,000 lb.) Teledyne Continental 382-10C
First flight: August 1988 (POC), May 1992 (prototype)
The Teledyne Ryan Model 350 was developed in the early 1990s for a now-defunct joint US Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force JUAV-MR (Joint Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - Medium Range) program, which took over from the JSCAMPS (Joint Services Common Airframe Multiple Purpose System) requirement of the late 1980s. The Navy was to develop the airframe and the Air Force to provide the payload.
The Model 350 had some broad similarities to the Model 324 Scarab, with a similar configuration except that it had twin air intakes on either side of the fuselage, forward of the wing roots. Like the Scarab, it had no landing gear. It was powered by a Teledyne CAE 382-10C (F408-CA-400) turbojet engine, with 4.4 kN (455 kgp / 1000 lbf) thrust. The Model 350 was designed to precede air strike packages into a target area and relay reconnaissance information in real time. It was to be carried by, and air-launched from medium sized fighters, like the F-16 Falcon or the F/A-18 Hornet, and fly tactical reconnaissance missions, carrying the ATARS (Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System). Subsequent landing was to be parachute assisted on airbags or by MARS (Mid-Air Retrieval System) with either round or steerable parafoil canopies.
The company-funded Model 350 POC (Proof-of-Concept) vehicle (originally designated Model 410B for deception) was made of composite materials produced by Scaled. It differed from the Model 324 mainly by the presence of two air intakes located at the root of each wing instead of the single dorsal one. The first captive flight took place on August 28, 1988, with the first free flight (and subsequent parachute recovery) on October 22, both in Mojave from Flight Systems-operated F-4C (no photos of this demonstrator have been published to date). Then in May 1989, Teledyne Ryan was announced as winner of the now redesignated UAV-MR competition. A contract for full-scale development of the UAV, now designated the BQM-145A MR (Medium Range) Peregrine, was subsequently awarded. The tenth evaluation flight of the Model 350 POC was done in Mojave on August 29, 1990 from an F-4D, to demonstrate a MARS retrieval by a USN SH-60 SeaHawk, while the RPV was equipped with a steerable parafoil.
While the production BQM-145As were to be of metal construction, the first two of 25 contracted YBQM-145A FSD vehicles were built of composites. In September 1991, the first vehicle was rolled out, with first captive flight on April 12, 1992 and first free flight on May 5, both from Avtel-operated F-4Ds. It was originally planned to procure more than 500 BQM-145A UAVs for the USAF, Navy and Marine Corps. In 1993, however, the ATARS payload was cancelled, and the Navy and Marines withdrew from the program. As the USAF apparently couldn't afford to fund the BQM-145A on its own, the whole UAV-MR program was finally cancelled in October 1993. Six BQM-145A vehicles under construction were completed, and the first of these made its first flight (ground launch) in February 1997. The name "Specter" has been quoted for these vehicles but there doesn't seem to be any official mention of that.
Apparently Northrop Grumman continued to use the Model 350 UAVs for other experiments. Some sources claim they have been evaluated for unmanned strike missions, and paintings have been circulated showing a BQM-145A fitted with a "high-power microwave (HPM)" generator in the nose to fry adversary electronic equipment. It has been confirmed that BQM-145As have been flown in the US on test flights carrying HPM payloads. Northrop Grumman (which had taken over the BQM-145 program after it had acquired Teledyne Ryan) continued to market the vehicle as a general purpose medium-range UAV for some years after that, but apparently without success.
Population: 1 JSCAMPS proof-of-concept flight test article