GTD-21 Drone
GTD-21 Drone

GTD-21 Drone

GTD-21 Drone company "Lockheed" for a long time was an unknown UAV, at least until the end of the year 1976 when multiple copies were found in the parking lot utilization and storage of the Air Force Center at the air base Davis-Monthan.

The first official mention of the drone dates back to the end of October 1977, when AW&ST magazine wrote an article about it. The new aircraft was conceived as a small prototype for the initial flight verification of the design features that formed the basis of the A-11. In the period from 64th to 67th year, 38 units of such equipment were produced, which were temporarily engaged in reconnaissance activities until the appearance of the SR-71. But according to other data, more likely, the development of the new UAV was associated with the defeat of the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft by a Soviet missile over Sverdlovsk. Then the president personally appealed to the CIA leadership with a request not to carry out manned reconnaissance operations over the territory of the USSR. Specialists from Lockheed suggested using Starfighters like the QF-104. But after a short consideration, the proposal was rejected.

The CIA gave the task to create a new UAV under the Tagboard program (October 10, 1962), which should have been designated as Q-12. But after a short time the name was changed to D-21 "Daughter", which was designed by the same team. According to the main design characteristics, "Daughter" is a derivative of the A-12. The unmanned aircraft is built almost entirely of titanium. Unlike its predecessor, it could at an altitude of more than 30 km reach a speed equal to M = 3,6 with a flight range of 2000 km. The D-21 had much better aerodynamic characteristics, so its effective dispersion surface was reduced, resulting in a higher aerodynamic performance.

The new UAV was supposed to perform high-altitude detachment actions in a hostile airspace. At the end of the task, the BA had to drop the film with the data, and self-destruct. D-21 was designed as a one-shot drone, so its rescue and re-application was not planned. The last phase of the task involved the reset of the 192-kilogram container. With this in mind, the engineers placed the machine in front of the wing bend line at the bottom of the fuselage. The color of the aircraft was black, as in SR-71. Thus, the radar visibility decreased and the heat dissipation from the surface of the fuselage increased.

In experimental flying machines equipped with PRVD tested, which confirmed the suspicion about the designers the possibility of rejection of Turbojet J-58. The basis of the engine took RJ43-MA-11, which is widely used in the SAM Bomarc IM-99B. In order to apply this type of engine in the UAV based on the low-pressure and high temperature has been increased engine altitude and cruise speed.

In December 62, the first D-21 model was completed. He was immediately transferred to the test site to find out the EPR. To implement the future launch of a new unmanned vehicle, two carriers were designed and built. They were designated as M-21 and nicknamed "Mother Goose". UAV was installed above the rear of the carrier. Directly in flight, before the detachment from the M-21 engine nozzle and air intake D-21A covered with fairings. When the carrier aircraft reached the speed M = 3,2, which implied optimal operation of the squadron, the unmanned aircraft was disconnected. The second crew member was engaged in the management of the BA.

For the first time, the M-21 rose in the air on April 1 of 64, and on December 22 it rose with D-21. Then the UAV flew 278 km. 4-th launch of "Daughter" was unsuccessful, because the BA fell under the carrier's shock wave and collided with it. Test pilot and operator ejected. Because of this accident, the second carrier was no longer used and is now in the museum. This design is not over. A little later, the D-21B was launched with a rocket booster. 

GTD-21 Drone. Characteristics:

Modification   D-21
Wingspan, m   5.87
Aircraft Length m   12.33
Height, m   2.19
Weight, kg   4990
engine's type   1 ramjet Marquardt RJ43-MA-11
Thrust, kgf   X 1 680
The maximum speed M   3.30
Practical range, km   4830
Practical ceiling, m   29000


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