The Temco XKDT-1 Target DroneThe XKDT-1 was a small, rocket-propelled, expendable target capable of a speed of Mach 0.95 at 50,000 feet (15.250 meters) or above. It won a U.S. Navy design competition, resulting in an award to Temco of a contract for the design, construction, and flight testing of an evaluation quantity of the drones, together with launchers and checkout and handling equipment.
Intended primarily for training jet pilots, and for missile evaluation, the XKDT-1 was about 12 feet (3.66 meters) long, with a span of 4ft 10.75in (1.49-m), and fuselage diameter of 10 inches (0.25 m) The vertical fin was on the underside of the fuselage, so that the target could be launched from beneath piloted aircraft. The fuselage was made of aluminum and magnesium. The swept-back wings had a honeycomb core, and the tail surfaces were machined extrusions.
The XKDT-1 had a self-contained guidance system, and once launched, it maintained a constant course and altitude during its powered flight of more than eight minutes. Although comparable in size with operational air-to-air missiles, it appeared as large as a fighter aircraft to radar observers on the ground, and to missile guidance systems. Visual tracking of the target was possible by ejecting flares from it intermittently during the powered phase of its flight.