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AerialTarget (AT)
AerialTarget (AT)

AerialTarget (AT)

Radio-controlled aerial target type Aerial Target (AT) have begun to develop more 70 years ago. It was the world's first anti-aircraft shells, which can be controlled, who designed and built the British constructor A. Lowe. This development was carried out during the First World War. The main objective was the destruction of German bombers. It was first used 1917 year, but due to imperfect design and management interest in the development dropped.

The history of the project

The need has arisen due to mass bombing enemy aircraft. During these years only began to emerge the country's air defense. This massive destruction of strategic targets from the air bombings led to the activation of designers to create safety systems. It should also be noted that bombing of German zeppelins were held at night, making it difficult to destroy their ground systems.

Thus, in 1925 it was already a well-known electronic kit Archibald Lowe proposed to resist enemy aircraft unmanned radio-controlled vehicles, which carried the explosives. The idea of ​​the designer was laid on the ground control unit to the detected target, then Aerial Target (AT) was supposed to explode near the target and bring maximum damage bomber shrapnel. This idea took to develop, the chief designer of the project was G. Folland, and Lowe was appointed head of the Research Department.


The name "Flying target" was chosen specifically to mislead enemy intelligence. Vehicle was made of wood in Scheme monoplane, which were highly situated wings. Wingspan device reached 4,2 meters. The power plant was presented to the two-cylinder piston engine, which gave 25 horsepower. Motor drives a single propeller. It was originally set 50-hp engine, but it created a large magneto interference to radio equipment.

Used to control the horizontal and vertical rudders, and the stability of the roll has become possible due to the bending of the wing. Along the body and between the wings were stretched special wire, which acts as an antenna. Each antenna is mounted worked on reception of a certain frequency, which were transferred to the relay autopilot.

The project, drawn up by Lowe, the machine had to run from a catapult on the specified path to the goal. The operator should keep the device in the field of view, then it is necessary to make rise closer to the target in a circular path. After reaching the goal of undermining held 40 kilos of explosives, which was carrying a drone. If you deviate from the course could ground the machine due to the presence of ski gear type.


In the spring of 1917, 7 machines were produced by Aerial Target (AT). The first demonstration of the device occurred in March 1917, the flight ended rather quickly, because the screw was broken, yet the designer was able to demonstrate good controllability of the target. This demonstration showed the possibilities, after which the active development of the project began. Further testing was virtually a failure because of numerous failures. In addition, there was a new task to destroy enemy aircraft-bombers. Of course, Aerial Target (AT) could also resist them, but it required a significant revision of the device, which was never given permission. In autumn 1917, the decree of the leadership of the project was finally closed.

AerialTarget (AT). Characteristics:

Modification AT
Wingspan, m 6.71
Aircraft Length m 6.20
Height, m 1.78
Wing area, m2  
Weight, kg  
normal takeoff 227
engine's type 1 PD ABC Gnat
Power, hp X 1 35
Maximum speed km / h  
Practical ceiling, m  


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