Monday , October 22nd 2018
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The History of Military Drone Flight

This history of full sized drone flight was sent in by a reader.

First Steps

Since 1916 unmanned vehicles have been used but have not been officially used or created in large numbers. Only minor tests were done.


Charles Kettering of General Motors develops a pre-programmed unmanned biplane known as the ‘Kettering Airborne Torpedo.’ According to his idea, this vehicle driven by a clockwork mechanism should fold the wings in a programmed place and fall on an enemy like a bomb. With funding from the US Army. A few devices were built but were not used in combat.1933
First successful test in the UK of the first Queen Bee UAV developed from the Fairey Queen biplane. It was controlled by remote control from a boat. This model renamed DH82A Tiger Moth was used in the British Navy as a white-aircraft from 1934 to 1943.


However, the first large-scale serial produced drone was the US-based Radioplane OQ-2, which served as a pilot target for pilot training.
Similar investigations were carried out in the Soviet Union. In 1930-1940 the aircraft designer Nikitin developed a drone glider armed with torpedo PSN-1 and 2 and type of ‘flying wing’ in two modalities: one as a pilot aerial target and the other with complete automation. At the beginning of the decade of the 40 was designed a torpedo boat with reach of 100 kilometers and a speed of 700 km / h. However, the drones of this project were not released in series.

Second World War

During World War II, German engineers developed various types of radio-guided weapons, including Henschel Hs 293 and Fritz X bombs, Enzian missiles, and radio-controlled explosive-laden aircraft. Fritz X and Hs 293 were successfully used in the Mediterranean Sea against armored warships.
A ‘massive’ weapon was the first ‘cruise missile’ FAU-1 with a jet propulsion engine launched from both aircraft and ground.


In the United States the flying target Radioplane OQ-2 was mass-produced for the training of pilots and gunners. In addition, in 1944, the ‘classic’ UAV was used for the first time in the world: the Interstate TDR.

After the Second World War

At the end of World War II, the great powers devised as their main force to attack powerful nuclear missiles, developing new types of guided missiles or ballistic missiles. In its shadow, the development of drones was financed as a ‘stepdaughter’ of strategic armament.1951 – United States

1951 – United States

In 1951, however, the United States launched the production of AQM-34, a modified white aircraft to be used as a reconnaissance aircraft launched from a mother plane for a planned route. When his mission was fulfilled, he descended by parachute. The design was so successful that the AQM-34 served in the US Air Force. For more than 30 years and was supplied to its allies.

Soviet Union

In the early 1970s the Tupolev Design Office developed several powerful drones for reconnaissance missions, called Tu-123 Yasstreb, Tu-141 Strizh and Tu-143 Reis. Only 950 kings, who did not precisely create dust in the hangars, were sent to hot spots, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, considered a point of no return in the history of unmanned warplanes.

1960, May 1

A U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers is shot down over Soviet airspace, made perceived by many specialists as proof of the need to use unmanned reconnaissance aircraft in these missions. In the early 1960s, remote control vehicles were used by the US. To supervise the placement of the Soviet missiles in Cuba after the demolition of another U-2 and the death of its pilot.

1964, November 15

The first US drone. Is shot down over China.


Israel uses US-made drones BQM-74 in its radio electronic fight during the Yom Kippur war.

1970 -1973

Firebee unmanned vehicles complete 268 missions in North Korea. These devices were launched from C-130 Hercules aircraft and parachuted into the ocean.


The development of reconnaissance UAV stagnates in favor of the use of satellites


USA Uses Chukar drones as decoys during the Gulf War.


First flight of a Predator. This is the first operational UAV that uses the global GPS positioning system instead of being programmed or using the line of sight, making it more reliable. It was implemented the following year, in the war in Yugoslavia.


It develops the Global Hawk, high altitude and long range UAVs designed to stay in the air long over enemy territory.


First flight of an MQ-9 Reaper. Originally christened Predator-B, the Reaper is a faster, taller, and more deadly drone. Its production began the following year.2011, December

2011, December

Iran says its forces have shot down a drone-spy RQ-170 Sentinel, and they keep it almost intact in its power. Days later the plane was exposed in Iran and Iranian media reported that the aircraft had been hacked by Persian specialists.

Iran says its forces have shot down a drone-spy RQ-170 Sentinel, and they keep it almost intact in its power. Days later the plane was exposed in Iran and Iranian media reported that the aircraft had been hacked by Persian specialists.

The original source was unknown, but I have since tracked it back toártelo.