Aerojet SD-2 Overseer


SD-2 Overseer
Role Reconnassiance drone
National origin United States
Manufacturer Aerojet General
First flight c.1959
Retired late 1960s
Primary user United States Army
Number built 35

The Aerojet SD-2 Overseer was an unmanned aerial vehicle developed by Aerojet General and Rheem Manufacturing Co.[1] in the late 1950s for use by the United States Army. Built in limited numbers, it never saw operational service.

Design and development

Development of the SD-2 drone began in 1957 by the Rheem Manufacturing Company and the project continued through the company's acquisition by Aerojet General in 1959.[2] Developed as part of the AN/USD-2 surveillance system, the SD-2 was designed for truck launch using two solid rocket boosters; following launch, a piston engine provided propulsion. At the end of its mission, the drone would be recovered via parachute.[2] Control was provided from a translateration system for navigation (similar to the much later differential GPS technology), which allowed the aircraft to steer on a pre-programmed course.[3]

The SD-2 was designed to use a modular sensor system, allowing equipment to be switched between missions according to requirements. Available payloads included cameras for either recovered or real-time photography, an AN/AAD-2 infrared sensor, AN/DPD-2 side looking airborne radar, or equipment for the dispensing of biological or chemical warfare agents from tanks mounted under the wings of the aircraft.[3]

Operational history

Thirty-five production SD-2s were produced. Poor results from the navigation system resulted in the system's cancellation in 1966, and the program was terminated without any Overseers having seen operational service.[3] In 1963, the SD-2 was given the designation MQM-58A under the revised designation system.[2]


Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965–66[4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 16 ft 1 in (4.9 m)
  • Wingspan: 13 ft 4 in (4.06 m)
  • Height: 3 ft 7 in (1.09 m)
  • Wing area: 27.8 sq ft (2.58 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 6.4
  • Gross weight: 992 lb (450 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,124 lb (510 kg) without boosters; 1,334 lb (605 kg) including boosters
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming LIO-360-B1B horizontally opposed piston engine, 225 hp (168 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 345 mph (556 km/h, 300 kn)
  • Combat range: 115 mi (185 km, 100 nmi)
  • Endurance: 45 minutes
  • Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,100 m)


  • 234 lb (106 kg) equipment capacity.

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ Mission ensured with a reliable Rheem drone system. // Aviation Week & Space Technology, February 9, 1959, v. 70, no. 6, p. 76.
  2. ^ a b c Parsch 2002.
  3. ^ a b c Newcome 2004, p.74.
  4. ^ Taylor 1965, p. 351.
  • Newcome, Lawrence R. (2004). Unmanned Aviation: A Brief History of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Reston, Virginia: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. ISBN 978-1-56347-644-0.
  • Parsch, Andreas (2002). "Aerojet General SD-2/MQM-58 Overseer". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  • Taylor, John W. R., ed. (1965). Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1965-1966. London: Sampson Low,. Marston & Company Ltd.