New, cutting edge drone technology, from 1961

In the late 1950s, various pieces of rocketry and missiles began to enter the Army’s inventory. One of the challenges the Army suddenly faced was pinpointing targets for these deep strike weapons. And so the call went out for an unmanned high performance drone that could use radar, infrared or photography to reconnoiter places of interest.  Fairchild responded with the attractive SD-5 Osprey jet powered autonomous drone.


Some folks say the program was cancelled on budgetary grounds, and that likely is mostly true. But one must also suspect the Air Force was not at all thrilled with the prospect of the Army flying a high performance recon drone, and considered the reconnaissance mission its own turf and the rightful job of its RF-101s and RF-4Cs.

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