Unmanned drones have played a significant role in the US military and have been a game changer on the battlefield since their inception, and Beechcraft’s MQM-107 Streaker was among the first to take flight.

Reusable, Target Towing Drone

Beech Aircraft (now Raytheon Aerospace) developed the earlier version of the MQM-107 in the early 1970s for the US Army Aviation and Missile Command. The Army had been attempting “to meet the 1972 Variable Speed Training Target (VSTT) requirement for a reusable, turbojet-powered, target towing drone capable of testing surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems,” and the MQM-107A fit the bill.

US Air Force National Museum
(Image source: USAF National Museum)

By 1975, the Army awarded “The Striker” the contract subsequently used the platform to test systems like the man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS), FIM-92 Stinger, and the SAM system, MIM-104 Patriot, until 1979. The Air Force also used the target towing drone for testing some of its air-to-air missiles, including the short-range AIM-9 Sidewinder and the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

The remote aircraft was updated several times over the next two decades, with different engines and payloads, and used by various operators besides the US. This includes Australia, Egypt, Iran, South Korea, and Turkey, to name a few.