Northrop (Radioplane) KD2R-3 Quail & KD2R-5 Shelduck
Target Towing Drone
In May 1954 a special unit called the "Radio Controlled Aerial Target Detachment" was created within the Ground-Air Artillery School (Luchtdoelartillerieschool/Ecole d'Artillerie Antiaérienne) of the Belgian Army at Lombardsijde barracks. This unit received between 24 and 30 Northrop KD2R-3 or OQ-19D (later MQM-33B) target towing drones acquired for the School. Rail launched from the seashore these drones were pulling target-banners along the coastline onto which different types of artillery hardware were used. At the end of each flight the drones descended on a parachute into the sea and could be recuperated for a new mission. In the mid sixties some 30 improved Northrop KD2R-5 Shelducks (MQM-36) were acquired. The Shelduck was equipped with an autopilot and had the option to cary radar reflectors (Luneberg lens) on its wingtips that augmented its radar signature. Finally the Belgian Army also acquired 4 MQM-57 Falconer or SD-1 surveillance drones for the benefit of testing. No follow on orders materialised as the locally designed and produced MBLE Epervier jet powered recce drones became available.