Sunday, January 28, 2018

Blast from the past....TDR-1 assault drone in flight, 1942

pic and story via Vinegar Joe Tumblr Page.

The TDR unmanned assault drone aircraft was developed by Interstate Aircraft starting in Apr 1942 by request of the United States Navy. The prototype took its first flight in 1942. They were built using steel-tube framing from the bicycle manufacturer Schwinn and molded wood skin. They were powered by two 220-horsepower engines. They were equipped with fixed tricycle landing gears which were jettisoned following takeoff for an operational mission. They could be flown either from a control aircraft (which was usually a TBF Avenger torpedo bomber fitted with a television display, seeing a display transmitted from the camera at the TDR drone’s nose), or aboard the drone itself (for test flights). Originally the US Navy envisioned, under Operation Option, a force of 1,000 to 2,000 assault drones, organized into 18 squadrons with 162 control aircraft. Ultimately, however, the contract was reduced to 300 assault drones. In 1944, TDR-1 aircraft were deployed to the South Pacific. They conducted their first operational sortie on 27 Sep 1944, bombing Japanese ships. On 27 Oct 1944, 50 TDR-1 aircraft were launched against the Japanese stronghold of Rabaul, New Britain; 31 of them reached the target and damaged several buildings. The project was canceled on 28 Oct 1944, one day after the small success at Rabaul, the project was cancelled. By this date, a total of 189 production examples were built. 
MachineryTwo Lycoming O-435-2 opposed piston engines, rated at 220hp each
Armament1x2,000lb (910kg) bomb or 1x aerial torpedo
Span15.00 m
Weight, Maximum2,676 kg
Speed, Cruising225 km/h
Range, Maximum425 km

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