This historic, silent film from Republic Aviation shows the development of the company's ill-fated SD-3 Snooper drone. A second film PF# 54484 is also available. The film begins with shots of a slide rule and a drafting table (:42), as the drone is designed. A so-called breadboard model of the flight controller is seen at :51, and a circuit board is shown at 1:14, part of the guidance system. At 1:30 a large analog computer mainframe is shown being used to analyze data. At 1:39, a woman engineer is seen operating the computer system. At 4:58 the small flight controller package is seen.At 2:25 another breadboard is seen for the decoder. This electronic package is seen in its final form at 3:00. At 3:37 tests of actuators are performed at Republic. At 4:00, drone wing panels are seen being assembled. At 4:10 the airframe is assembled. At 4:40, parachute recovery system tests are shown, these were apparently shot on a rocket sled with a high speed camera. At 5:30 landing bags, a fairly unique feature of this drone, are tested. Final assembly of the drones is seen at 6:16. At 6:40, the drone's engine is test started and at 6:53 a fully painted version emerges from the Republic hangar.
The SD-3 was the result of an industry-wide competition for a short-range reconnaissance drone that could be launched in the field. The complete drone system including ground equipment designated AN/USD-3 and the drone itself was referred to either also as AN/USD-3 or simply as SD-3 (with "SD" usually being interpreted as "Surveillance Drone"). Some literature also refers to it as "Peeping Tom". It was intended to have a range of 100 miles, be capable of launch from a JATO powered zero-length launcher, and weigh 1000 pounds.
Testing was star-crossed, with the vehicle crashing on its initial flights due to a design flaw with the oil system. Eventually the drone did make a series of successful flights but the program was cancelled and the Snooper was never deployed.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com