McDonnell ADM-20C Quail

Pima Air and Space Museum Aircraft

Manufacturer
McDonnell
Markings
U.S. Air Force
Designation
ADM-20C

McDonnell ADM-20C Quail

The Quail decoy was designed to be released from a B-52 bomber just before it attempted to penetrate the aerial defenses of the Soviet Union. Its job was to mimic the radar signature, speed, altitude, and maneuvers of the real bomber to give it a better chance to reach its target. The Quail entered service in 1961. It remained in first line service throughout the 1960s. In 1972, Air Force testing disclosed the fact that radar operators could easily distinguish between the drone and the real aircraft by correctly identifying the drone 21 out of 23 times. The Air Force quickly switched its focus to Air Launched Cruise Missiles to keep the bombers out of harm’s way and the Quail was quickly phased out of service.

Specifications
Wingspan 5 ft 4 in
Length 12 ft 10 in
Height 3 ft 3 in
Weight 1,198 lbs (loaded)
Max. Speed 650 mph
Service Ceiling 55,000 ft
Range 460 miles
Engines 1 General Electric J85-GE-7 turbojet 2,450 lbs thrust