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Robot Planes of 1941

131028-Z-ZZ999-001 -- “Robot planes” like this one were successfully flown by remote control at Selfridge Field just prior to World War II, helping to pave the way for today’s modern unmanned aerial vehicles. In the early 1940s, several Douglas 0-2 aircraft were modified to serve as a test platform for a robot plane project, in which the aircraft was flown by remote control, either from a pilot in a trailing aircraft or in a control vehicle on the ground. The robot plane variant, known as the BT-2, included an oversize tricycle-style landing gear. In January 1941, the Sixth Pursuit Wing at Selfridge conducted extensive testing of the project, declaring success in a Jan. 11 press briefing. The date and location of the photo of this particular aircraft are unknown. (Air Force photo)

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