Translated automatically from the French version of Kelclinic. Contact us for remarks, questions or help.
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D-21 - is the result of "Lockheed" development company based on supersonic aircraft A-12. This idea arose when 1 May 60-year was hit by an American reconnaissance U-2B Soviet missile near Sverdlovsk region. Then the US government banned flights by manned reconnaissance over the territory of the USSR. The Central Intelligence Agency had to ignore in these innovations and adopt new measures for the establishment of a long-range unmanned.

Thus, the company "Lockheed" began designing experimental apparatus X-7A 1, X-7A-2 and X-7A-3. Studies have shown that the best motor for driving the UAV will ramjet RJ43-MA-11, developed by "Marquardt". As the power plant was originally developed for the cruise missile "Bomark" in terms of its use of drones to the designers had to make some improvements.

In the first place it completely changed the device, stabilizing the flame, and mounted a new system and re-start the cooling nozzle. Thus, increased time on the half hour. Upgraded engine renamed XRJ43-MA20S-4. First, the new device was planned for a single use, which held a series of works on reducing the weight and cost. But there was a question about the loss of expensive navigation systems and photographic equipment. For this construction set parachute glider container.

The first life-size mock-up was prepared in December 62-year. At the same time, the development company specialists conducted radar tests, which demonstrated low visibility drone. Optimal performance revealed in tests in the wind tunnel. But the CIA leadership is not particularly complain about the results of this work. The new car was designated as Q-12.

But the new UAV strongly interested in the Air Force, which has already started to consider it as a cruise missile or reconnaissance. A little later, the representatives of the CIA and the Air Force signed a contract for co-financing of the UAV. And in March 1963, the company "Lockheed" leadership received an official letter from the Central Intelligence Agency to conclude a contract for the production of UAVs already renamed D-21.

At the same time before designers created a new problem with the separation of D-21 from its carrier A-12. In October 63-year project D-21A was completed with a new carrier M-21. New bundle was given a new designation -Tagboard.

The developed design is made of steel and titanium, and only a small portion - of composite radar absorbing materials. The container, in which instead of reconnaissance equipment, guidance system and were in the compartment length 1,9 m. It placed INS inertial navigation system AFCS automatic control system, computer ADC air parameters. Normal functioning of the container was secured avionics cooling device. Before the flight, the calculator was introduced the number of autonomous flight. The initial concept of the project included the disengagement device on the vehicle and a further flight into offline mode on a pre-laid down the program. The flight ended in the ocean, where dumped a container of intelligence. UAV detonated himself at the request of barometric sensor. The container down from the height of 4,5 km parachute hanging on 20-meter cable with a "cat's whiskers", which provides a reliable engagement MARS system. This system is equipped with search and rescue aircraft JC-130B. If the container is dropped into the water, his ascent was carried out on a specially equipped boat.

Pilon UAV equipped with a pneumatic and mechanical locks and a device for supplying fuel, which consisted of two pipelines. One provided a cooling circulation system, skin, and the other ran the scout fuel tanks.

UAV control operator was the second aircraft carrier cab. His place equip periscope with which he watched the UAV. On the first flight test units prepared 7 D-21A. The tests are not particularly satisfied with the representatives of the Air Force and the CIA, so the designers have developed an additional program for Senior Bowl, which was based on the concept of the suspension of two UAV plane B-52N. UAVs have also been modified and renamed D-21V. The first launch of a D-21V bomber carried out in late September 1967 years. But the first trial ended negatively, as when disconnecting BA touched the pylon and fell. Additionally we conducted several exercises, but not one of them has not ended successfully.

The tests continued for a long time, so that in 1971 year was the last launch of the UAV to gather intelligence on China. In general, the test in combat conditions was successful, but the drone was lost on the way back. The military have suggested that he was hit by anti-aircraft. In July, the program ceased to exist because of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the US and China. The need for such a device has disappeared. Present attempts to restore operating UAVs in order to NASA, but with careful study guide abandoned this idea.

D-21. 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


Other UAVs



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