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Little-known Teledyne Ryan drones, RPVs and UAVs

Stargazer2006

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Recent publication of many Teledyne Ryan inhouse photos on Flickr has brought its share of pleasant surprises... Unfortunately none of the images has a caption or even a title, so it's quite a task to browse through them and sort them out.

Anyway, the first of these little-known types is the Model 258 Firebrand.

Here is what Andreas Parsch has to say about this model:

The Firebrand was designed as a parachute-recoverable ramjet-powered target suitable for ground and air launch. Solid-propellant rocket boosters propelled the BQM-111 to ramjet ignition speed of Mach 1.2. After an air launch from a DC-130, the Firebrand could cruise at Mach 2.0 at 12200 m (40000 ft) before diving to 90 m (300 ft) for the final run towards the "attacked" ship. The target was guided by a pre-programmed radio command guidance system with options for manual override. Any uncommanded deviation from the pre-planned mission profile would lead to immediate start of the recovery sequence to avoid endangering ships by an uncontrolled high-speed vehicle. It was originally planned to build nine Firebrand test vehicles, and to begin flight tests in 1983. However, the ZBQM-111A program ran into funding difficulties. It also didn't help that the Firebrand design with its two ramjets and boosters came out as a heavy vehicle, possibly only marginally suitable for launch from the surface or from C-130 aircraft. The program was finally cancelled in January 1982. The Navy decided to continue the use of the MQM-8 Vandal instead, and to formulate a new requirement for a dedicated anti-ship missile target. The latter eventually resulted in the AQM-127 SLAT (Supersonic Low-Altitude Target) program.

Source: http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-111.html
 

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Stargazer2006

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Next is the Model 320, which competed against a Martin Marietta design for the YAQM-127A SLAT (Supersonic Low Altitude Target) program which was later cancelled. It was sometimes known as the "Intimidator", although I'm not sure whether this was a company nickname or a planned DoD name for the type if procured.

Here is what Andreas Parsch wrote about it:
Following the cancellation of the BQM-111 program, the U.S. Navy in late 1983 issued a new requirement for a low-level, high-speed aerial target to simulate anti-ship missile threats. The new program was called YAQM-127A SLAT (Supersonic Low-Altitude Target). The SLAT requirement called for a parachute-recoverable and reusable target, which could be launched from DC-130, QF-4, A-6, F/A-18 and P-3 aircraft. After a competition with LTV (who bid an ALVRJ derivative) and Teledyne Ryan (who bid a new design), Martin Marietta was awarded a contract to develop the AQM-127 in September 1984, with a cost estimate which was even less that of the internal Navy estimate (se source for full details on the Martin winner).
Source: http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-127.html
 

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Stargazer2006

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The Model 410, which was developed with Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites. It was an OPV (optionally piloted vehicle), just like the recent Firebird, also developed by Scaled for Northrop Grumman (which now owns what used to be Teledyne Ryan).

Allow me to reproduce here the article I wrote on the Model 410 for my website Stargazer:

This was a 1600-pound vehicle with a high-mounted wing, tapered with a blunt tip. Its twin-tail, pusher propeller fuselage, made of fiberglass and foam sandwich composites, was round with a flat bottom, and tapered to the front and rear. It was powered by a four-cylinder turbo-engine on rear of fuselage in the opposing (pusher) position. The landing gear was fixed, and like wing spans, made of graphite epoxy. The tail unit was made of tapered back fins mounted on booms, with a rectangular flat between the fins. Teledyne Ryan's Model 410 could fly about 1,200 miles and stay aloft for about 14 hours on average, but had an endurance in the air of two days with a 100-pound payload or one day with a 300-pound payload. An upgraded version was to increase endurance to three and two days respectively, but this was apparently never built. The Model 410 had an 8-hour mission capability 1000km from base with a 135kg multi-sensor payload. It could fly autonomously or from the ground control station and use data from the GPS. "Two 410 systems, one based at Reykjavik and one based in the Bahamas, could continuously monitor convoys crossing the Atlantic" said a press article.
The Model 410 was Ladislao Pazmany's last design before he quit Ryan. The prototype of the Model 410 was converted to manned operation for safety reasons, and completed its manned flight tests early in June 1988. It retained this configuration for the whole of the testing and development phase. Nothing is known about its fate or current whereabouts (if any), but it was deregistered a few years ago. According to a Northrop Grumman employee, the Model 410 eventually proved overweight.
 

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Stargazer2006

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The very rare Model 262 Manta Ray is certainly the coolest find in this collection. It was tested in the 1975-1977 period and was known as the STAR (Ship Tactical Airborne RPV). At last we can see decent pics of Ryan's "Mini-RPV", as they called it!
 

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Stargazer2006

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There is a cool-looking but totally unknown design in the Flickr set... A pusher RPV with twin-booms and an inverted V-shaped tail.

(Model 329 Spirit — Thanks a lot, Robunos!)
 

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GeorgeA

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Thanks for posting these. The first picture in the first post was on the cover of Aviation Week back in the day.
 

robunos

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Star, according to 'Fireflies and Other UAVs', pp. 134-136,
your 'unknown UAV' is the model 329 'Spirit' HALE UAV.
More later...


cheers,
Robin.
 
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Ian33

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I'm sure I am saying or adding nothing new, but just in case its relevant, I just ask if you have seen a US Patent NO:4019699 from 1977.

Its a triangle design for a low observable aircraft which reminded me very much of the ducted design.

Great photographs and I love the twin boom design, very much like the fire bird manned / unmanned from northrop.
 

Stargazer2006

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Ian33 said:
I'm sure I am saying or adding nothing new, but just in case its relevant, I just ask if you have seen a US Patent NO:4019699 from 1977.
Its a triangle design for a low observable aircraft which reminded me very much of the ducted design.

Is this the one we discussed in that topic?
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,7018.msg97582.html#msg97582

Ian33 said:
Great photographs and I love the twin boom design, very much like the fire bird manned / unmanned from northrop.

No wonder since both the Model 410 AND the Firebird were designed by Scaled Composites and are both OPVs (optionally piloted vehicles)!!! You'll also notice that a great number of Ryan UAVs sported names beginning with "Fire-" (Firebee, Firebolt, Firebrand, Firefly...). Teledyne Ryan was absorbed by Northrop Grumman, and so the Firebird is pretty much an heir to the Teledyne Ryan lineage...
 

AeroFranz

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Great series of pics Stephane, Thanks. Check your email.
 
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Ian33

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Yes it is, and no I had no idea that Northrop / Scaled Composites and Teledyne Ryan were all in it together.

Consider me schooled. With thanks.
 

Stargazer2006

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Ian33 said:
Yes it is, and no I had no idea that Northrop / Scaled Composites and Teledyne Ryan were all in it together.

Consider me schooled. With thanks.

My pleasure! Yeah, it's all Northrop Grumman now, except Scaled Composites has retained its name and its flexibility while Teledyne Ryan has simply ceased to exist as a separate entity. The irony of that situation is that the Global Hawk was Teledyne Ryan's winning design in the Tier II+ competition AGAINST Northrop Grumman's own, and now it has become a Northrop Grumman product...
 

robunos

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Okay, as promised, here's some more info from
'Fireflies and Other UAVs'.
Model 329 'Spirit' :-
Program commenced in 1985, as a company-sponsored HALE system.
potential missions included comms relay, ELINT, sonobouy monitoring
for ASW, and long range weather monitoring. Growth versions were
envisaged for over-the horizon targeting and cruise missile early
warning and tracking.
Span was to be 85' with an aspect ratio of 30. The fuselage was to be
40' long, depending on payload, and height, 14'.
Cruise altitude was to be 50,000' with a 300lb payload. Gross weight was
to be 4,500lbs, and empty weight 2,500lbs approx.
Time on station was expected to be 80 hours.
Construction was to be primarily of graphite epoxy, with Kevlar in the
wing, and secondary structure of glass fibre.
Construction of the prototype was to be performed by Scaled Composites.
For initial flights the aircraft was to be fitted with a cockpit and piloted,
see below, this later being replaced with a payload.
Propulsion was to be a liquid-cooled six-cylinder Teledyne Continental
engine of 155-160 hp, essentially a six-cylinder version of the Rutan Voyager's
rear engine.
Navigational equipment studied included GPS-updated INS, and TRA's own
system.
Interest was shown in the model 329 by several branches of the Military,
however funding was not forthcoming. Part of the reason for this was
the non-existence of a suitable mission payload, meaning that further funds
would for development of this, in addition to the airframe.
Therefore, development did not proceed.
Images below :-
A model of the model 329 'Spirit', with a cockpit for initial flight tests,
A diagram showing the flight profile of the model 258 Firebrand, and
a diagram showing the performance envelopes of the various Ryan targets.


Star, are these what you need ?? ;D


cheers,
Robin.
 

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Ian33

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Baited breath Good Sir, baited breath!

Between you all you just might be able to help me graduate to colored pencils :)

@ Stargazer, damn fine reading and it truely is appreciated.
 

Stargazer2006

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robunos said:
Star, are these what you need ?? ;D

Well yeah! This is great! Despite my interest in Ryan UAVs, I'd never encountered the Spirit before!

First listing is similar to that in the first edition but the second one is new. Only addition to the list for me is the Model 326 mini-RPV, I'd love to have more on this.

Please note that your post gives no less than THREE different designations for the Spirit: 329, 369 and 396!!! I believe the former to be the correct one...

As for the Model 336 HATS, Ian33, please see attachment.
 

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robunos

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Okay, time for some more...
Sorry, Star, the 'Spirit' IS the model 329!... :(
In my defence, I will ask... Do you know how hard
it is to type with a cat sitting on your keyboard??


Anyway, the model 326 mini-RPV...
This was actually a RPH, remotely piloted heicopter,
a 1/4 scale model of the Mil Mi-24 attack helicopter.
Rotor diameter was 14', fuselage length 15', and gross
weight 285lbs. max speed was of the order of 55mph,
range 200 naut. miles, and endurance up to 5 hours.
Service ceiling was to be 10,00'.
Construction was to make extensive use of glass fibre
and other composite materials, power plant was a 50hp
ultralight engine.
Development began in 1985, against a perceived need
for a system to train ground troops, primarily US Army and USMC,
in the use and operation of shoulder-launched MANPADS.
However, since there was neither a formal requirement, nor a
customer for this system, following completion of development and
testing flights, the project was terminated.


cheers,
Robin.
 

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robunos

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Laser research...
As part of 'Project Sealite', the US Navy's shipboard laser defence
system research program, in 1983 the MIRACL laser equipment was
moved to the High Energy Laser System Test Facility at White Sands.

TRA were selected to provide targets for the laser weapons tests.
Intended to simulate an anti-ship missile attacking a laser
equipped warship, TRA produced a modified version of the Navy
BQM-34S as the model 314. The aircraft was fitted with sensor
arrays at designated 'aim points' on the airframe, and other
equipment to record the effects of the laser.
Downlink systems transmitted data to ground

technicians until the target ceased functioning.
During firing tests commencing in 1987, the system performed flawlessly.


cheers,
Robin.
 

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robunos

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HATS...
Even as the laser test work with the model 314 was getting
underway at White Sands, the US Navy and SDI organisations
foresaw the need for further testing, in particular against high
altitude threats. Also a major disadvantage of the model 314
was that it was destroyed with each test. A re-usable target
would be much preferred.
To this end, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command
contracted with TRA for a model 336 vehicle, which would
provide a stable flight platform, configured with sensor arrays,
and operate at 50,000'. The program codename was High Altitude
Target Skylite (HATS).
TRA again modified a BQM-34S type, adding 31" diameter discs under
each wing, the port one containing over 300 laser sensors.
Originally, both discs were to contain sensors, but as a cost
cutting measure, the starboard one became a dummy, for aerodynamic
balance only. Most of the laser energy is reflected by the sensor discs,
only a small part being detected by the sensors.
The model 336 airframe is highly polished to prevent damage from the
high-energy laser beam. Testing exceeded all the set specifications,
including a flight to 53,000'.


cheers,
Robin.
 

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Gridlock

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robunos said:
The model 336 airframe is highly polished to prevent damage from the high-energy laser beam.


Ah, the folly of SDI summed up in barely 15 words...
 
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Ian33

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Damn fine post Sir! Damn fine.

That disk under the wings is an ugly but novel way of utilising what you have for the job in hand, and those FireBee drones must of worked in every research department lab in the USA.

I did have a chuckle at the mirrored to refelct otherwise harmful rays - I assume here that this wasnt a full powered test?!?

Oh and as for that scale model MiL 24? Thats just something else - think they'd let us have a go if we asked real nice? Lol.
 

robunos

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I assume here that this wasnt a full powered test?!?


According to the book :-
"After the beam locks onto the high-altitude drone underwing sensor array,
the ground-based MIRACL laser is fired for only a few seconds."


cheers,
Robin.
 

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Gridlock said:
robunos said:
The model 336 airframe is highly polished to prevent damage from the high-energy laser beam.


Ah, the folly of SDI summed up in barely 15 words...

Speed of light weaponry is the future of defensive systems. The money spend through SDI has advanced the state of the art and while "political" forces did more to stop SDI than technological limitations (space based lasers) overall I would say it has been good for the US IMHO.
 
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AAAdrone

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robunos said:
I assume here that this wasnt a full powered test?!?


According to the book :-
"After the beam locks onto the high-altitude drone underwing sensor array,
the ground-based MIRACL laser is fired for only a few seconds."


cheers,
Robin.

What I am getting out of that is that the overall energy put into those sensor arrays couldn't have been too massive as a two or three second dwell time shouldn't mess anything up too bad. The power may be high but actual energy put into something is derived from integrating the power function of the laser over a time interval as well as other factors like blooming, ablation of surface material disrupting the beam, etc. MIRACL is a megawatt class weapon and the most powerful CW laser in the US so I'm guessing it would indeed be powered down in terms of output power going purely off of intuition regardless.

@Gridlock Mirrors won't save missiles in real life however. No mirror is 100% efficient and is not invulnerable to every conceivable wavelength of radiation and at best a slight increase in dwell time for the laser is the result of using a mirror. At worst the mirror doesn't work very well at all as the frequency of laser radiation mostly passes through said mirror with minimal effect.

Lasers, RF weapons and other light speed DEWs are the future of defensive systems as bobbymike said due to the ease of aiming and precision of such weapons. There will no longer be any need to launch such massive inefficient bodies at an enemy missile if a high energy laser can be aimed at the right spot and detonate the warhead prematurely while not having to worry about how long it will take for any projectile to reach the target, calculating gun lead targeting solutions, etc.
 

quellish

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robunos said:
Okay, time for some more...
Sorry, Star, the 'Spirit' IS the model 329!... :(
In my defence, I will ask... Do you know how hard
it is to type with a cat sitting on your keyboard??


Anyway, the model 326 mini-RPV...
This was actually a RPH, remotely piloted heicopter,
a 1/4 scale model of the Mil Mi-24 attack helicopter.
Rotor diameter was 14', fuselage length 15', and gross
weight 285lbs. max speed was of the order of 55mph,
range 200 naut. miles, and endurance up to 5 hours.
Service ceiling was to be 10,00'.
Construction was to make extensive use of glass fibre
and other composite materials, power plant was a 50hp
ultralight engine.
Development began in 1985, against a perceived need
for a system to train ground troops, primarily US Army and USMC,
in the use and operation of shoulder-launched MANPADS.
However, since there was neither a formal requirement, nor a
customer for this system, following completion of development and
testing flights, the project was terminated.


cheers,
Robin.

This
Is a snow cone maker.
 

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fightingirish

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Boxman

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Recently posted by the San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) Archives site on YouTube, "Ryan BQM-34A Contrail Suppression Tests RB-57F Canberra", featuring formerly "Secret" footage depicting the contrails of the RB-57 compared to the "suppressed" contrail of what appears to be a specially-equipped Ryan Model 147A fitted with a "no-con" system.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwngzZEJOVI
 

fightingirish

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Ryan fixed rotor concept.
Larger picture at San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives, posted there on 15th February 2013.
Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasmarchives/8476470325/in/photolist-dV38j6/
 

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sublight is back

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The hum in the SDASM archive videos is horrible. Do any of you know the people putting these up? It would be very trivial to demux the audio and remove the hum with a notch filter and remux the audio back without re-encoding the video....

Could somebody relay that to them? Thanks!
 

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Stargazer said:
Next is the Model 320, which competed against a Martin Marietta design for the YAQM-127A SLAT (Supersonic Low Altitude Target) program which was later cancelled. It was sometimes known as the "Intimidator", although I'm not sure whether this was a company nickname or a planned DoD name for the type if procured.

Here is what Andreas Parsch wrote about it:
Following the cancellation of the BQM-111 program, the U.S. Navy in late 1983 issued a new requirement for a low-level, high-speed aerial target to simulate anti-ship missile threats. The new program was called YAQM-127A SLAT (Supersonic Low-Altitude Target). The SLAT requirement called for a parachute-recoverable and reusable target, which could be launched from DC-130, QF-4, A-6, F/A-18 and P-3 aircraft. After a competition with LTV (who bid an ALVRJ derivative) and Teledyne Ryan (who bid a new design), Martin Marietta was awarded a contract to develop the AQM-127 in September 1984, with a cost estimate which was even less that of the internal Navy estimate (se source for full details on the Martin winner).
Source: http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-127.html


Fast forward to 3 minute 19 second mark of this video just posted yesterday (31-Jan-2014) by the San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) to see a promotional video for the "Intimidator."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fH10YwIDMw
 

Stargazer2006

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Stargazer2006

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Just beautiful...

http://www.ebay.fr/itm/Keith-Ferris-Original-Oil-Painting-Ryan-Firebee-II-Aviation-Art-/121303875380
 

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aim9xray

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Hmmm!

It. Has. Returned.

This painting first showed up on eBay in somewhere about 2002 or so at a price of $8000. It didn't sell and it was repeatedly relisted at lower and lower prices. I think it got down to about $2000 about two years ago when the listing disappeared.

Now it shows up again from a seller in Carmel. Interesting. It's still too rich for my blood, but I must say that it is a favorite from when Chandler Evans (Ceco) had a Ferris painting on the back cover of Aviation Week every issue.
 

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