Weapons 28/01/20 “Glider for special purposes”: what are drones created in the USSR before the war

the Use of unmanned aerial vehicles is considered a characteristic feature of modern warfare and probably the near future. However, few people know that in the 1930-ies the Soviet Union, preparing for the coming war, experienced aircraft radio control, able to deliver to the enemy a ton of explosives.

“Gliders for special purposes”

the Domestic pioneered the development of UAVs has been the establishment seemingly unrelated to aviation – “Scientific-research mine and torpedo Institute” in Leningrad. Since 1933, here in a specially created laboratory No22, under the control of the designer Solomon Roll created a “glider for special purposes”. According to the authors, the aircraft were intended to attack coastal fortifications and naval vessels. To send manned bombers was dangerous because of the activity of anti-aircraft artillery.

In 1935 by order NIMTI production Special design Bureau (chief designer Pavel Grokhovsky) has released a model of the PSN-1, or rather its prototypes. The glider is attached to a torpedo or a simple explosive charge was attached to wing heavy bomber TB-3. When the plane was in the air, the glider uncoupled. Further targeting occurs through the infrared beam.

Full scale gliders, UAVs began in August of 1935 in one of the lakes in the village Krechevitsy near Novgorod. But the repression against Mikhail Tukhachevsky in 1937, raised and supervised a field of remote-controlled combat vehicles. As a result of the arrest of employees of OKB series of gliders have not seen the light.

In the first year of the Second world war it was decided to release a new model – PSN-2 designer Vasily Nikitin.

“PSN-2 could carry a bomb FAB-1000 weight 1000 kg or a torpedo of similar weight. As the carrier aircraft for the PSN-2 was originally planned to use airplanes TB-3 and in future the DB-3, but mass production of the last machine was postponed several times”, — said Mikhail Kozyrev in the book “aircraft of the red Army”.

In July 1940 work on the development of gliders special forces was suddenly stopped by order of people’s Commissar of the Navy Nikolai Kuznetsov. None of the sortie did not take place.

Collapsed “Daedalus”

in Parallel “Sptecbureau” were working on the remake of the bomber TB-3 and the preceding model TB-1 in RC planes. “Filling” of these devices served telemechanical system “Daedalus”, which could control the bomber in the air, but not during takeoff. Therefore, it was assumed that TB-3 will raise the wing pilot. When approaching the target the pilot had risked his life to transfer to a fighter-15. Meanwhile, the escaping aircraft management brought the mission to completion. In 1940, these developments found final expression in the system of combat tandems. Paired with a radio-controlled aircraft-torpedo TB-3 flying control aircraft bomber SB-2 or SB-3. To practical tests it is only in the second year of the great Patriotic war. With the help of drone it was planned to destroy 4 tons of explosives railway junction in Vyazma held by the Germans. But at the crucial moment refused to electronic equipment (an antenna of a radio transmitter in the aircraft DB-3F was hit by a shrapnel of anti-aircraft shells). In the end, the TB-3 fell, not reaching the goal. The fate of the second battle of the tandem turned out even worse – both aircraft were destroyed right on the airfield.

More to the topic of drones did not return until 1944, when aircraft designer Vladimir Vakhmistrov proposed a draft of a combat glider, equipped with a gyroscopic autopilot. By the way, a similar system to the Germans was set on flying bombs “V-1”, with which in the summer of 1944 bombed London. The idea vahmistrova tAK and remained only on paper.

Thus, the costly development of drones has not produced any practical results in the war. The most daring ideas of domestic designers were not implemented due to technical backwardness of the country.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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