Posted: 5/3/2009 12:55:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/3/2009 12:58:46 PM EDT by marksman121]
Wow, I never knew they had guided bombthen.
Boeing BQ-7 Flying Fortress
In June 1944 a plan concerning radio controlled B-17's was approved.
The goal was to attack V1 sites and other heavily protected and fortified structures, such as Submarine pens.
These sites were difficult to destroy from the air.
Around 25 old Fortresses of all kinds of versions (mainly the -F version though) were prepared for this task.
Up to 9 tons (9.144 kg) high explosives were packed inside a stripped Fortress, with added radio controled flight system and 2 TV cameras (1 for the instrument panel, 1 for looking up the target).
The BQ-7 were to be controled by crewmen in the first leg of the trip (still over Britain), who would subsequently bail out with parachutes.
The controls would then be in the hands of "Command Aircraft", other B-17's, flying in the vicinity.
After a number of tries and fatal accidents, without any firm results, the project was abandoned.
Boeing MQ-17G Flying Fortress
Improved version of the BQ-7 guided bomb
Boeing BQ-7 Aphrodite
In July 1944, the USAAF implemented the idea to convert "war-weary" B-17 Flying Fortress bombers to radio-controlled assault drones. About 25 B-17s, mostly B-17F, were converted to BQ-7 configuration under program Aphrodite. The BQ-7 was to be flown from Great Britain against very hardened and/or heavily defended German targets, like e.g. submarine pens or V-1 missile sites.
The BQ-7 was filled with about 9000 kg (20000 lb) of Torpex high-explosive and fitted with an impact fuze. During take-off and initial climb, the BQ-7 was manned by a crew of two, a pilot and an engineer. After reaching cruise altitude, the crew pointed the aircraft toward the general direction of the target, activated the remote-control equipment, armed the fuze, and parachuted to the ground. To facilitate bail-out, the B-17's canopy was removed, and the cockpit converted to an open one with a windshield only. The BQ-7 was then controlled from another B-17, modified to CQ-4 configuration, which accompanied the BQ-7 on its way to the target. The formation was completed by a fighter to shoot the BQ-7 down in case of a loss of control. Once the drone was close enough to the target, its controls were locked for a terminal decent, and the control plane turned away. After the first missions, some BQ-7s were fitted with two TV cameras, one in the cockpit to watch the instrument panel, and one obliquely in the nose to watch the flight path over the ground. The TV images were transmitted to the CQ-4, so that visual tracking of the BQ-7 was not necessary, giving the weapon a stand-off capability.
The first of 15 Aphrodite missions occured on 4 August 1944 against a V-1 site, and operations continued with low priority until January 1945. However, not a single BQ-7 attack was considered a definite success. The drones suffered all kinds of failures, mainly related to the autopilot and remote-control equipment. Several BQ-7s went out of control, and a few actually crashed and exploded on British soil, luckily without inflicting major damage. Other problems included poor visibility via the TV image (leading to aiming errors of several 100 meters at best and several miles at worst), and the vulnerability of the non-manoeuvering BQ-7 to anti-aircraft fire.
Although sounding promising in theory, the BQ-7 Aphrodite concept was clearly a failure, mainly because the equipment of the time was not yet up to the task. A very similar effort to convert worn-out B-24 Liberator bombers to BQ-8 assault drones was even less successful. Post-war, the designation MB-17G was reserved for possible conversions of surplus B-17Gs to missiles in the style of the BQ-7, but it seems that no MB-17Gs were actually built.
In 1944 the USAAF intended to convert some worn-out Consolidated B-24D/J Liberator bombers to BQ-8 radio-controlled assault drones for use against heavily defended targets on Japanese islands in the Pacific. The concept was the same as used for the B-17 Flying Fortress conversions in the BQ-7 Aphrodite project. The BQ-8 would take off with two crew, who would then climb to cruise altitude, arm the fuzes, hand the plane over to remote control from an accompanying director aircraft, and bail out. The payload of the BQ-8 consisted of about 11300 kg (25000 lb) of Torpex high-explosive. It is unknown, how many B-24s were actually converted to BQ-8 drones, and the USAAF never flew an operational BQ-8 mission.
The U.S. Navy had converted at least two PB4Y-1 (their version of the B-24) patrol bombers to assault drones under project "Anvil", but the BQ-8 designation did most probably not apply to these planes. "Anvil" used a complicated remote-control setup. The image of the drone's TV camera was transmitted to a B-17, which then sent course-correction commands to a converted PV-1 Ventura, which actually controlled the drone. Two "Anvil" missions were flown in the North Sea area, but without a definite success. On the first one on 12 August 1944, the PB4Y exploded prematurely and killed both pilots. While the second "Anvil" attack in September that year struck the target area, the accuracy could not be determined because the TV camera had been destroyed by flak. Because of the apparent severe reliability and accuracy drawbacks, project "Anvil" was terminated after the second mission.
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. was killed in a BQ-8 during Operation Aphrodite.
Operation Aphrodite was the name of a series of bombing runs by explosive-laden airplanes piloted by a skeleton crew who would parachute from the aircraft before detonation.
After previous US Army Air Forces Operation Aphrodite missions were conceptualized on July 23, 1944, Kennedy and LT Wilford John Willy (born May 13, 1909 in New Jersey) were designated as the first Navy flight crew - LT Willy had pulled rank over ENS "FNU" Simpson (who was the regular co-pilot with Kennedy) in order to be on this mission in a modified version of the B-24 Liberator (code named "Anvil") in the US Navy's first Aphrodite mission.
After the two Lockheed Ventura mother planes and a navigation plane had taken off, the BQ-8 "robot" aircraft completed take-off from RAF Fersfield, England loaded with 21,170 pounds (9,600 kg) of Torpex to use as a guided missile on the V-3 cannon site in Mimoyecques, France.
Following approximately 300 feet behind the drone was Colonel Elliott Roosevelt in a de Havilland Mosquito to film the mission.
Kennedy and Willy remained on board while the BQ-8 completed its first remote-control turn.
Approximately two minutes later and ten minutes before the planned crew bail out, the Torpex detonated and destroyed the Liberator.
The aircraft came down near to the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk.
Look up foo fighters.
I never appreciated how much fragmentation came out of an airburst/VT shell until I saw it exploding over water in that video.
Originally Posted By Tpalladium:
Look up foo fighters.
Foo Fighters had not one fucking thing to do with WWII guided bombs.
The Germans also used some rocket powered TV guided missiles in anti ship roles.