The Naval Aircraft Factory’s TDN assault drone was the first purpose built
aircraft of its type.
Plans for these weapons were considered before America’s
entry into WW II, therefore it did not take long to design and build the TDNs
when the decision was made for their use. First deliveries of about a hundred of
these aircraft started in early 1943.
A TDN was able to carry a variety of
explosives up to a ton, which included bombs or torpedoes and was controlled by
a “mother” aircraft. It was able to release the weapons or be flown directly
into the target.
TDNs were not used in combat but were mostly used in training. A TDN was the
first aircraft to be remotely flown off of an aircraft carrier during exercises
conducted on Lake Michigan in the summer of 1943. They were flown from the
training carrier, U.S.S. Sable and made simulated attacks along the Michigan
lakeshore. During remote control operations, the canopy was not removed from a
TDN. Due to other commitments in modifying and producing aircraft, the NAF past
along the task of building drones to other manufactures. This resulted in
another design, the Interstate TDR (see TDR article in for more information of
this type) and a TD3R.
The TD3R was a more powerful version of the TDR built by Interstate and the
American Aircraft Companies. It used radial engines and made a number of test
flights but never entered combat.
Both models are in 1/72 scale, which results in their wingspans being about
eight inches. The TDN was carved from a urethane material and is shown carrying
two 1000 pounds bombs from True Details.
The TD3R was cast from BARE METAL’s polyurethane resin using the mold that also
produced the TDR.
Besides the radial engines, the other difference is the canopy
used during manned testing of the aircraft.
Both models were finished in Testor’s Model Master paints.
Model, Description and Images Copyright ©
2002 by Tom Conte
Page Created 02 October, 2002