Aviolanda AT-21

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Role Target drone
National origin Netherlands
Manufacturer Aviolanda
First flight 1955
Primary user Royal Netherlands Navy

The Aviolanda AT-21 was a target drone developed in the Netherlands by Aviolanda. Powered by a pulsejet engine, it was the Netherlands' first drone to be successfully developed, and saw limited use in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Design and development[edit]

Developed in 1955,[1] the AT-21 was of conventional aircraft design,[2] with a high-mounted, constant-chord monoplane wing and a twin tail empennage. Power was provided by a SNECMA AS-11 Ecrevisse pulsejet, mounted in a fairing underneath the aircraft's fuselage; the construction of the airframe made extensive use of plastic in the nose and tail, with the center-section being of metal construction, and the wings and tail were made of foam-filled plastic with metal stabilizers and rudders.[1]

Launch was by JATO-type booster rockets from a zero-length launch ramp; a trolley for conventional takeoff from a runway was also available. Control was by radio commands from a remote guidance station, set up like an aircraft cockpit; if radio contact was lost, the parachute recovery system would automatically deploy. The parachutes could also be manually released at the end of a mission; the wing and tail would be separated by explosive bolts upon landing to simplify recovery and reduce the risk of damage during the process.[1] Endurance was up to one hour, and it was possible to fit a payload of cameras for aerial reconnaissance duties.[3]

Operational history[edit]

The first flight of the AT-21 took place in late 1955.[1] The first Dutch drone to successfully complete development,[3] it entered service with the Royal Dutch Navy.[4] Production of the AT-21 continued through 1958.[5]


Data from Ordway and Wakeford[3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 5.5 m (18 ft)
  • Wingspan: 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)
  • Gross weight: 299 kg (660 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × SNECMA AS-11 pulsejet, 0.85 kN (190 lbf) thrust


  • Maximum speed: 354 km/h; 191 kn (220 mph)
  • Endurance: one hour

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists



  1. ^ a b c d "Aviolanda's New Target Drone" (PDF). Flight: 722. 4 November 1955. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  2. ^ Bowman 1957, p. 85.
  3. ^ a b c Ordway and Wakeford 1960, p. N1.
  4. ^ Roskam 2002, p. 71.
  5. ^ El-Sayed 2017, p.102.


  • Bowman, Norman John (1957). The Handbook of Rockets and Guided Missiles. Chicago: Perastadion Press. ASIN B0007EC5N4.
  • El-Sayed, Ahmed F. (2017). Aircraft Propulsion and Gas Turbine Engines (Second ed.). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-4665-9516-3.
  • Ordway, Frederick Ira; Ronald C. Wakeford (1960). International Missile and Spacecraft Guide. New York: McGraw-Hill. ASIN B000MAEGVC.
  • Roskam, Jan (2002). Roskam's Airplane War Stories: An Account of the Professional Life and Work of Dr. Jan Roskam, Airplane Designer and Teacher. Lawrence, KS: DARcorporation. ISBN 1-884885-57-8.