Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles|
Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones
|Copyright © 2003 Andreas Parsch|
In 1955 the U.S Navy issued a requirement for a low-cost expendable high-performance target drone. The design competition was won by Temco, who was awarded a contract for a small quantity of XKDT-1 Teal targets for evaluation purposes. The first flight of an XKDT-1 occurred in September 1957.
The XKDT-1 was powered by an Astrodyne two-stage (boost/sustain) solid-fueled rocket motor, and was air-launched from fighter aircraft (typically the F3H-2M Demon). Once launched, the Teal's guidance system maintained a constant course and altitude at a speed of Mach 0.95 for about eight minutes. The target was non-recoverable and was destroyed at the end of the mission. The XKDT-1 had conventional flying surfaces except for a ventral vertical fin to facilitate lauching from underwing pylons. However, there is photographic evidence that at least some Teals were also fitted with a dorsal tailfin. To present itself as a suitable target for the then current anti-aircraft weapons, the XKDT-1 was equipped with radar reflectors, an IR source and flares for visual tracking.
When the evaluation of the XKDT-1 was completed, no full-scale production contract for the Teal was awarded. It's not unlikely that a subsonic target was no longer suitable in the late 1950s, and in 1959, the Navy and Air Force actually initiated a design competition for an expendable supersonic drone, which eventually led to the Beech KD2B/AQM-37.
Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!
Data for XKDT-1:
|Length||3.60 m (11 ft 10 in)|
|Diameter||25 cm (10 in)|
|Wingspan||1.50 m (4 ft 11 in)|
|Weight||160 kg (350 lb)|
|Ceiling||16000 m (52500 ft)|
|Propulsion||1st stage: Astrodyne 4NS150 solid-fueled rocket; 666 N (150 lb) for 3.8 s|
2nd stage: Astrodyne 480NS50 solid-fueled rocket; 222 N (50 lb) for 480 s
 Frederick I. Ordway III, Ronald C. Wakeford: "International Missile and Spacecraft Guide", McGraw-Hill, 1960
 Vought Museum Website
 BuAer Instruction 05030.4A: "Model Designation of Naval Aircraft, KD Targets, and BuAer Guided Missiles", Dept. of the Navy, 1958
Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 1