ADM-20 "Quail" Decoy Cruise Missle - Display

Serving "on display" at K.I. Sawyer is tail number 61-0414

The ADM-20 Quail (GAM-72) was a decoy missile, intended to confuse enemy radar. It was designed to be similar to the B-52 Stratofortress in terms of radar return and flight characteristics; however, since its design in the mid-to-late 50's, radar's ability to discriminate between the Quail and an actual B-52 improved dramatically, to the point where radar operators were able to identify B-52s 21 out of 23 times.

The Quail was retired in 1978. At its peak in 1963 there were 492 Quails in service with SAC. In total 616 missiles were produced..

About the ADM-20

The McDonnell ADM-20 Quail was a subsonic, jet powered, air-launched decoy cruise missile built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. The Quail was designed to be launched by the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber and its original United States Air Force designation was GAM-72 (GAM standing for Guided Aircraft Missile).

In 1955 the USAF started a major effort to construct decoy missiles. The goal of this effort was to improve the ability of strategic bombers to penetrate air-defense systems. The projects initiated under this effort included the MX-2223, which produced the XSM-73 Goose, a long range ground-launched jet-powered, decoy cruise missile; and MX-2224, which produced the XGAM-71 Buck Duck, an air-launched rocket powered decoy missile to equip the Convair B-36.

The USAF was at the same time developing the XQ-4 as a supersonic target drone to support the Bomarc Missile Program. A requirement was established by the USAF Power Plant Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to support follow-on production of the XQ-4. This requirement called for a small jet engine in the 2,000 lbf (8.9 kN) thrust class with a high thrust-to-weight ratio of 10:1. On November 28, 1954 General Electric was awarded a USAF development contract to construct the XJ-85-GE-1. The USAF designated the XJ85 project MX-2273.

During April 1955, the USAF began a program to develop a short range air-launched decoy missile to simulate the radar cross section of a bomber. On January 18, 1956, the USAF released General Operational Requirement (GOR) 139.