Aircraft Engine Historical Society Members Only

The Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila Drone Power Plant

Narrative and Photos by Tom Fey Unless Otherwise Indicated

24 May 2016

In late 2014 I received an email with two photographs from Graham White offering to gift me an unknown drone engine if I would pay for shipping. Graham called it a “mega buck engine” that he received from a friend several years ago. Eight days and ninety two dollars later I received a very interesting and unexpectedly rare piece of aeronautical history.

When I unwrapped the engine it became clear that this was a beautifully engineered, expensive-looking Quick Engine Change (QEC) unit for a pusher-type installation in an ellipsoid fuselage. The engine is an opposed twin cylinder configuration with a propeller 26 inches in diameter with a large generator attached to the rear of the engine. The entire QEC weighed 37.8 lb.

Fortunately the engine had a data plate that indicated the engine was for a Remote Piloted Vehicle (RPV) manufactured by Herbrandson in Lawndale, California to a “Design Activity” 4S500. A quick internet search turned up the Herbrandson Engines website and references to several RPV/UAV aircraft. The pusher configuration and shape of the QEC pointed towards the Lockheed/Army “Aquila” RPV. Further searching of the internet revealed the remarkable yet troubled history of the Aquila program.

 

The remainder of this page is available only to AEHS Members. Please Login.
Username:
Password: