Mishap: JATO Rocket Detaches On Launch, Leaving Drone Behind
The Ryan Firebee was a series of target drones developed by the Ryan Aeronautical Company beginning in 1951. It was one of the first jet-propelled drones, and one of the most widely used target drones ever built. It was not, however, designed to destroy itself.
The Firebee could be launched by air from a "mother ship" or ground launched by one RATO booster.
In the late 1950s, the US Air Force awarded Ryan a contract for a substantially improved "second generation" Firebee, the Model 124, originally with the designation Q-2C. The initial prototype performed its first flight in late 1958 and went into production in 1960. In 1963, it was redesignated the BQM-34A, the model seen in this footage.