Globe KD2G Firefly

The Globe KD2G Firefly was a pulsejet-powered American target drone, built by the Globe Aircraft Corporation for operation by the United States Navy in the late 1940s, seeing operational use into the mid-1950s.

KD2G Firefly
KD2G-1
Role Target drone
National origin United States
Manufacturer Globe Aircraft Corporation
First flight 1946
Retired ~1954
Primary user United States Navy
Developed from Globe KDG Snipe
Developed into Globe KD6G Firefly

Design and development

The KD2G was a mid-wing, twin-tailed aircraft of similar design to the KDG Snipe which Globe was already supplying to the Navy. A single McDonnell PJ42 pulsejet engine was mounted atop the rear of the fuselage.[1] The fuselage was constructed of steel tubing with a duralumin monocoque covering; dural was also used for the flying surfaces.[2] The KD2G was equipped with radio control with an effective range of 6,000 yards (5,500 m); it could be launched using a catapult, or launched aerially from JD-1 or F7F-2D aircraft.[2] Recovery, if it survived its mission, was by a 32-foot (9.8 m) diameter parachute; the Firefly was designed to be able to float for up to 15 minutes in the event of a water landing.[2]

Operational history

First flying as the XKD2G-1 prototype during 1946, the KD2G-1 entered service with the United States Navy during 1947. The improved KD2G-2, powered by a Solar PJ32 pulsejet, began production in 1950;[1] it was the first successful jet-powered target drone to be developed following the end of World War II.[3] The KD2G remained in service through the mid-1950s, being replaced by the KD6G.[1]

Variants

XKD2G-1
Prototype with McDonnell PJ42 engine.[1]
KD2G-1
Production version of XKD2G-1 with 28-volt electrical system.[1]
KD2G-2
Improved production model with Solar PJ32 engine.[1]

Specifications (KD2G-2)

Data from Standard Aircraft Characteristics[2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 12 ft 3 in (3.73 m)
  • Wingspan: 11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)
  • Height: 2 ft 3 in (0.69 m)
  • Wing area: 20.66 sq ft (1.919 m2)
  • Empty weight: 191 lb (87 kg)
  • Gross weight: 311 lb (141 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 320 lb (145 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 20 US gallons (76 l; 17 imp gal)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Solar PJ32-S-4 pulsejet, 107 lbf (0.48 kN) thrust

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 240 mph (390 km/h, 210 kn)
  • Stall speed: 62 mph (100 km/h, 54 kn) power on
  • Combat range: 100 mi (161 km, 87 nmi)
  • Endurance: 26 minutes
  • Rate of climb: 2,180 ft/min (11.1 m/s) at sea level
  • Time to altitude: 2 minutes to 4,000 feet (1,200 m); 4.9 minutes to 8,000 feet (2,400 m)
  • Wing loading: 14.9 lb/sq ft (73 kg/m2)

Avionics

  • AN/ARW-26Y radio control system

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists

References

Citations
  1. Parsch 2005
  2. Standard Aircraft Characteristics: Globe KD2G-2. NAVAER 1335B. Bureau of Aeronautics, 1 August 1950.
  3. White 1992, p.27.
Bibliography
  • Parsch, Andreas (2005). "Globe KD2G Firefly". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. designation-systems.net. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  • White, Maxwell (1992). Datelines, a history of Navy missile testing at Point Mugu, California. Point Mugu, CA: Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division. ASIN B002Y5WHDC.
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