|Primary Function:||Target Drone|
|Power Plant:||Aerojet 530NS35
|Thrust:||36 lbf (160 N)|
|Flight Ceiling:||60,000 feet|
|Length:||9 feet 8 inches|
|Boost Time:||9 minutes|
|In Service:||1959 - 1970's|
|Manufactured by:||Northrop Corporation|
Following flight trials of the XKD4R target drone, developed for the United States Navy, Radioplane redesigned the aircraft into an improved version, designated RP-76, first flying in 1959Compared to the XKD4R, the RP-76 had redesigned wing fairings, with the vertical control fin being moved to the underside of the missile, as opposed to being on top.
The RP-76 was designed to fly a pre-programmed trajectory on autopilot, with radio command guidance being optional. As with the XKD4R, control was provided by three fins located forwards on the body of the craft. A Luneberg lens was included to augment the drone´s radar signature, and recovery at the end of the flight was by parachute.
Flying for the first time in 1959, the RP-76 was most often launched from a F-89 Scorpion fighter of the United States Air Force, and was extensively used by the U.S. Army for training the operators of surface-to-air missiles;the drone was also used for training USAF fighter pilots in air-to-air gunnery. A slightly modified version, designated RP-78, was supplied to the U.S. Navy; it used a more powerful rocket, producing 99,000 lbf (440 kN) of thrust, to propel the drone to a top speed of Mach 1.25.
In 1963 the RP-76 and RP-78 received the designations AQM-38A and AQM-38 in the new "tri-service" missile designation system. In all, over 2000 examples of the drone were built by Northrop, with the missile remaining in service with the U.S. Military until the mid-1970s, when they were retired.