The Model 410 never went past the prototype stage... but this OPV more than paved the way for the Firebird.

A beautiful photo shoot under Mojave skies.

A few images of the TRA 410's construction.

Type: Economical aerial reconnaissance and surveillance long endurance UAV for civilian or military customers



Powerplant: 1 x four-cylinder turbo-engine (no data)

Significant dates: September 1987 (revealed), October 1987 (first flight), 27 May 1988 (manned)

Program inception and philosophy

Concurrently with the Model 324 Scarab, Teledyne Ryan developed another UAV in conjunction with Scaled Composites: the Model 410. This was an advanced-concept Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) developed on company funds. The TRA 410 was evolved from exhaustive operations analyses and design trade studies resulting from discussions of requirements with customer audiences throughout the world, and aimed at offering customers the first practical means of conducting sustained surveillance at an affordable cost.

According to TRA Senior Vice President Darrell A. Cole, it was difficult initially to get customers to realistically assess their own needs because of "pervasive media hype of successful Israeli mini-RPV usage. "The media has correctly extolled the virtues of these mini systems but has failed to point out the unique conditions which preclude similar results in more normal circumstances. The Israeli preemptive strike strategy enables concentration of assets for short-term employment in a tiny country with relatively benign terrain, weather, radius of action and endurance requirements," he explained. Discussions with potential customers identified their real needs for full-time, all-weather surveillance of borders, coastlines and vast land and sea areas, Cole pointed out.

Large volume and payload weight capability was considered necessary to carry multiple and flexible imaging or electronic emission sensors. Military interests ranged from classic strategic intelligence information to detailed tactical needs. Many customers have civil government and commercial interests such as smuggling and immigration control, atmospheric monitoring, forest and crop surveys, fisheries protection, watershed analysis plus other concerns. Manned systems are far too expensive and often too vulnerable to provide sustained wide area coverage. Cole explained. Current unmanned systems do not have the all-weather, range/payload and endurance performance necessary to provide this coverage on an affordable basis, he said.

Design and construction

The TRA 410 featured a high-mounted wing, tapered with a blunt tip. was round with a flat bottom, and tapered to the front and rear. The tail unit was made of tapered back fins mounted on booms, with a rectangular flat between the fins. It featured daynight, all-weather, short takeoff and landing off airport capability. The pusher prop and retractable nose gear enable unobstructed viewing by retractable sensors.

Payload compartment, located in forward section of fuselage, was designed for easy access in equipment arrangements. Aircraft's nominal gross weight was 1600 pounds with optional weight of 2800 pounds in mission-oriented configurations, including excellent high density takeoff and landing characteristics.

Construction in modular design was a high-tech application of low-cost fiberglass/foam sandwich composite. The twin-tail, pusher propeller fuselage, made of fiberglass and foam sandwich composites, while the landing gear and wing spars were constructed from graphite and epoxy.


The TRA 410 was powered by a four-cylinder turbo-engine on rear of fuselage in the opposing (pusher) position. The aircraft's top speed is 190 knots with slower speeds used to obtain maximum range or endurance. Its service ceiling is greater than 30,000 feet. Gross weight vanes from 1600 to 2800 pounds, depending on customer payload and endurance needs. Basic imaging payload configurations weight 100 pounds and electronic surveillance payloads average 300 pounds. Up to 80 hours endurance can be obtained with a 2800-pound takeoff carrying the 100 pound payload. Payloads much larger than 300 pounds can be carried with a commensurate reduction in fuel and endurance.

The Model 410 could fly about 1,200 miles and stay aloft for about 14 hours on average, but had an endurance in the air of two days with a 100-pound payload or one day with a 300-pound payload. An upgraded version was to increase endurance to three and two days respectively, but this was never built. The Model 410 had an 8-hour mission capability 1000km from base with a 135kg multi-sensor payload. It could fly autonomously or from the ground control station and use data from the GPS. "Two 410 systems, one based at Reykjavik and one based in the Bahamas, could continuously monitor convoys crossing the Atlantic" said a press article.

Avionics and equipment

As planned by Teledyne Ryan, the long-range and endurance capabilities of thr TRA 410 enabled forward area land or sea units to obtain real time tactical information without logistics burdens and the vulnerability to exposure caused by local launch and recovery operations. Broad ocean surveillance could also be maintained from land bases. This could even include CAP operations for cross-ocean transit of naval forces. The selected vehicle size and platform provided adequate volume and weight carrying for inexpensive modular payloads.

The ground control center and data link were specifically designed for UAV operations and did not require a tracking antenna at the ground control center. One center could control up to eight vehicles simultaneously. The data link had excellent range performance and both vehicle and sensor functions used the same link. The sensor data frame rate was optimized to provide the operator more useful information in a reduced band width. Cole said that the Model 410 could be maintained by general aviation skilled personnel. Sensors and avionics could be removed and replaced by generally skilled personnel, although maintenance of the system required special skills.


The TRA Model 410 was Ladislao Pazmany's last design before he quit Ryan. The sole prototype entered its flight test phase at Holtville, Calif, in October 1987. It was converted to manned operation for safety reasons, and completed its manned flight tests early in June 1988. It retained this configuration for the whole of the testing and development phase. Nothing is known about its fate or current whereabouts (if any), but it was deregistered a few year ago. According to a Northrop Grumman employee, the Model 410 eventually proved overweight.

Population: 1 [N53578]

Specifications: Wingspan: 31.3 ft. (9.55 m)
Wing Area: 81.6 sq ft (7.6 m²)
Diameter: n/a
Length: 21.67 ft. (6.60 m)
Empty weight: 929 lbs (422 kg)
Gross take-off weight: 1600 lb. (726 kg)
Fuel weight: 371 lb (169 kg)
Payload weight: 300 lb
Payload bay capacity: 0.68
Sensor bay capacity: 23 sq. ft.


  • Model 410 features folding wing capabilities for transporting to and from operating sites.
  • A preplanned growth version added wingtip extensions and a higher compression, turbo supercharger to enable operations at 45,000 feet.

Performance summary:
Runway take-off distance: 750 ft.
Altitude: 30,000 ft.
Range: 1,200 nm.
Endurance: 12 hrs.
Speed: 85-140 kts.
Cruise speed: 115 mph
Maximum speed: 169 kts (some sources give 190 kts)
Propulsion: 160 hp, gas

Crew/passengers: 1 or none

Main sources: TRA publications

The Model 410 became a piloted aircraft "for safety reasons".

The ancestry of the Northrop Grumman Firebird caneasily be traced in these beautiful photos of the manned Model 410.

An original company painting depicting the TRA 410.

First publicized shots of the TRA 410.