History Series: The First Pilotless Aircraft

The first pilotless, radio-controlled aircraft was built in 1916 following the outbreak of World War I. It was called the Ruston Proctor Aerial Target and it was developed by Archibald Low, who is known as “the father of radio guidance systems.” It was intended to be a flying explosive device to take down enemy Zeppelins or ground forces. However, the vehicle was never actually deployed in battle. It was tested and first took flight in 1917 using a compressed air launching mechanism. Unfortunately, it would only fly for a few minutes until its engine failed. After several failed flights, the British military abandoned the project, claiming there was no future in unmanned aerial vehicles.


Sarah Baig

Marketing Coordinator

February 09, 2022