Early military UAS - 1861

UAS are over 150 years old!



Saw this siteand this one, made me wonder why it took 150 years for the public and Govts (and me) to "discover" their existence.


During the Civil War, the Federal Govt used unmanned incendiary balloons programmed to land after a 30 mile flight to set Confederate areas on fire.


Started looking up more and discovered that unmanned airplanes with primitive autonomous systems were used in WWI and FPV was used in WWII. During the 30s the US military was converting off the shelf "model airplanes" with (primitive) RC for a variety of applications from flying bombs to target drones. Amazing stuff.


Nothing new under the Sun.

We should be proud to be carrying on a tradition older than manned airplanes!

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  • Cool stuff.

    Sgt. Ric,

    Maybe you could scan those pics and post them in a blog ?

    As much as the new stuff is interesting, I find the history much more engaging and meaningful.

    Funny that the FAA is just recognizing UAVs, but then again, they didn't care about model airplanes until the 1980's either. While the FCC had been granting access to radio frequencies for recreational aircraft modelers since the 50's.

  • A lot of this is also talked about in Wired for War. One of the more notable mistakes is talked about here. http://www.aviationmuseum.net/Joe_Kennedy.htm
  • Moderator
    A great uncle of mine was a true pioneer in the field of R/C.
    His work was often under-written by the military.
    I have photos of his radio equipt and planes...the radio was the size of a desk and the ant mast was huge.
    You may have heard of him... Clinton DeSoto Sr.
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