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BQM-74C "Chukar"
4468th Tactical Reconnaissance Group

A 40-person team of specialists, obtained from disbanded ground-launched cruise missile units, was assembled in a few days and designated the "4468th Tactical Reconnaissance Group". The 4468th moved on a fast track, with trucks modified and obtained from a California commercial trucking firm, tool kits purchased from Sears, and field gear bought from war surplus stores. The teams were given quick training, equipped with 44 Navy BQM-74Cs, and sent to Saudi Arabia in two six-launcher teams in about two weeks, arriving near the Iraqi border on 15 October 1990. The northern team was sited to cover Baghdad and large military bases in that area, while the southern team was sited to cover Basra and Kuwait City. The two teams practiced launches while wearing chemical-protection suits and night-vision goggles. When the air war began on the night of 17 January 1991, Iraq was hit by waves of Lockheed F-117 stealth fighters and Tomahawk cruise missiles. 38 BQM-74Cs were assigned to be launched as a diversion for the second wave of attacks, with the launches generally in groups of three, and 37 were launched successfully in precisely timed waves. One group of three was intercepted by Iraqi aircraft, while all the others made it to target. The drones flew over 500 kilometers (310 miles) at 630 KPH (390 MPH), then began to orbit Baghdad for up to 20 minutes. Iraqi air defense radars probed for the drones and were immediately destroyed by Allied strike aircraft firing high-speed antiradiation missiles (HARMs). The Navy also launched TALDs to contribute to the countermeasures blitz. Iraqi air defenses never recovered from the blow, and though heavy Allied aircraft losses had been predicted, the Iraqis only succeeded in shooting down a handful.

After the war, the 4468th was disbanded, and one of the remaining BQM-74Cs was donated to the US Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, where it is now on display.

BQM-74C Chukar