The History of DronesThe History of Drones


UAV (UAV/UAV) — unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cle, drone. Until the begin­ning of the 21st cen­tu­ry, it was used exclu­sive­ly for mil­i­tary pur­pos­es. Recent­ly, drones have been wide­ly used both in every­day life and in busi­ness. In this review, we have col­lect­ed his­tor­i­cal facts about how the unmanned indus­try was born.

How it was…


The History of DronesThe History of Drones

1849 Revolt in Venice. On the wave of bour­geois rev­o­lu­tions in the Aus­tri­an Empire, the Vene­tians declared inde­pen­dence. The city was tak­en under siege. The work of artillery was not effec­tive due to the pecu­liar­i­ties of the relief and good for­ti­fi­ca­tions on the out­skirts of Venice.

Franz von Juchatik, lieu­tenant of the Aus­tri­an artillery, put for­ward the idea of ​​bom­bard­ing the city from bal­loons. On July 12, 1849, the first two bal­loons with bombs were launched on the besieged city. There were shrap­nel bombs on board, as well as mech­a­nisms that dropped them at the right time. The bomb­ing did not bring sig­nif­i­cant results, but sowed pan­ic among the Vene­tians.

This case is con­sid­ered the first ever doc­u­ment­ed evi­dence of the use of unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cles.

Wartime is the time of active use of new tech­nolo­gies and inno­v­a­tive devel­op­ments in var­i­ous branch­es of sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy.

bomb with wings

Charles KetteringCharles Kettering

1910 Inspired by the suc­cess of the Wright broth­ers, an Amer­i­can mil­i­tary engi­neer from Ohio, Charles Ket­ter­ing, pro­pos­es the idea of ​​​​an unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cle — in fact, a bomb with wings. Thus, lay­ing the foun­da­tion for the devel­op­ment of unmanned strike air­craft.

As con­ceived by the cre­ator, the air­craft filled with explo­sives was able to fly in a straight line, with­out a pilot, for some time. Then the drone dropped its wings and fell on ene­my posi­tions. It is known that in 1914, Ket­ter­ing received an order from the US Army for the man­u­fac­ture of such unmanned air­craft. A total of 45 units were made. Lat­er they were put into ser­vice, but they were nev­er test­ed in bat­tle.

first dronefirst drone

The First World War gave impe­tus to the devel­op­ment of many of the fun­da­men­tal tech­nolo­gies of our time, includ­ing radio-con­trolled unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cles. Exper­i­ments with drones began almost imme­di­ate­ly after the start of the mass intro­duc­tion of radio trans­mit­ting devices. At the same time, exper­i­ments began on the alter­ation of con­ven­tion­al air­craft for remote con­trol.

One such devel­op­ing project dur­ing World War I was the Hewitt-Sper­ry Auto­mat­ic Air­plane. Its cre­ators, Elmer Sper­ry and Peter Hewitt, served togeth­er in the US Navy. Sper­ry was engaged in the cre­ation of gyro­scopes for the use of the lat­ter on destroy­ers. They were both pas­sion­ate about avi­a­tion and saw poten­tial in drones.

Once they still man­aged to inter­est the com­mand and they began to devel­op their unmanned tor­pe­do. In fact, it was a radio-con­trolled winged bomb. The first suc­cess­ful test flight took place in Sep­tem­ber 1917.

First unmanned aircraft

Radio-con­trolled ships received a new breath after the intro­duc­tion of autopi­lots in the ear­ly 30s.

1935 British engi­neers cre­ate a reusable unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cle. He got the name queen bee». The Fairy Queen biplane mod­el was tak­en as a basis. After recon­struc­tion and refine­ment, the drone could be con­trolled remote­ly from a sea ves­sel at a dis­tance of up to 5 km. The max­i­mum speed of hor­i­zon­tal flight reached 170 km / h. Hav­ing received the code name — DH82B, the mod­el was used by the Roy­al Navy and the Roy­al Air Force of Great Britain as a tar­get for train­ing fir­ing until 1947.

By the begin­ning of the Sec­ond World War, radio-con­trolled unmanned objects were already mass-pro­duced. Espe­cial­ly the Tar­get type. One of these UAVs was the well-known radio plane QQ‑2. The first work­ing mod­el of which appeared in 1939. The QQ‑2 radio­plane was the most pro­duced drone. In total, 14,000 copies were issued.


In con­clu­sion, we note that even in those days, there were peo­ple who believed in the ben­e­fits of tech­nol­o­gy and pre­dict­ed the mas­sive use of drones for peace­ful pur­pos­es. How­ev­er, at that time such reflec­tions were in the cat­e­go­ry of sci­ence fic­tion. Until the begin­ning of the 21st cen­tu­ry…


By Yara