a timeline of nrl’s autonomous systems research|
2011 NRL REVIEW
NRL devised a control switch with a vertical handle, similar to the controlstick o an aircra, which could operateselective relays simultaneously to pro- vide or the several controls necessary tothe fight o aircra. It was rst appliedto a three-wheel cart system, the “electricdog,” which could be seen wanderingabout on NRL’s driveways.
NRL developed the control system orthe rst U.S. fight o a radio-controlledpilotless aircra. Remotely controlledrom the ground, the N-9 foat planetook o rom the Potomac River, ol-lowed a triangular course, executedglides and climbs, and landed on theriver.
NRL’s C.B. Mirick patented his systemor remote radio control o pilotless air-cra (or o “any circuits or objects whichare to be controlled at a distance”) usinga “‘joy stick’ identical with the ‘joy stick’provided in aircra.” U.S. Patent no.1,597,416, “Electrical Distant-ControlSystem,” Aug. 24, 1926. “My inventionrelates broadly to distant control sys-tems, and more particularly to a controlcircuit or a radio transmitter, and aselectively responsive circuit or a radioapparatus whereby particular controlsmay be caused to unction individually or simultaneously.”
For exercises to test the vulnerability o ships to air bombing, NRL devised aradio remote control system to ma-neuver the warships USS
which had been converted totarget ships. Te steering and throttlecontrols were operated through selectorswitches based on the teletype mecha-nism using the Baudot code.
Te Navy needed more realisticanti-aircra practice targets than targetsleeves towed by piloted aircra, so NRLdeveloped the radio-control system oran unmanned aircra that, in dem-onstration, could be controlled by a“mother plane” 25 miles away. arget“drones” became widely used and ledto rapid improvement in re-control sys-tems. Hundreds o F6F and other typeaircra were converted to drones orgunnery training, evaluation o deenseprocedures, and to carry out simulated“Japanese suicide” attacks.
Te rst complete simulation o a guidedmissile was demonstrated using anunmanned type BG-1 aircra equippedas an assault drone with NRL’s radio-command guidance system and remoteobservation by television. Te dronecrashed through a towed battle ra,proving the capabilities as a weapon.
NRL developed a radar carrier-con-trolled approach system that allowedaircra to land on a carrier in completedarkness. It was rst demonstrated onUSS
Radio-guided drones collected data onnuclear explosions during the Bikinitests in the Pacic, telemetering it to saeobservation points aboard ship.
Te Loon, with the guidance systemdeveloped by NRL, provided the rstsuccessul demonstration o a surace-to-surace guided missile and the rstguided missile to be launched rom asubmarine, USS
. NRL contribu-tions included tracking by radar andsteering by radio remote control.
NRL participated extensively in the con-ceptual planning and development o thesubmarine-launched Polaris missile.
NRL developed the rst operationalU.S. satellite tracking station at Blossom