Military Review

First combat robot


As you know, the human mind is designed so that almost any technical novelty, he immediately seeks to adapt for war and the destruction of their own kind. Radio communication was no exception - its appearance naturally prompted inventors to develop remote-controlled combat vehicles. The pioneer in this business was the French engineer Gustave Gabe, who designed, built and relatively successfully tested the world's first radio-controlled torpedo.

The tests took place in Chalons-sur-Saone in February 1909, in the presence of General de la Roche, who gave a high assessment to what he saw. According to his report, the torpedo clearly obeyed the radio commands transmitted from the coastal guidance station, made turns in both directions and could move in a spiral. However, it has not reached the speed declared by the inventor in 30 nodes.

Despite the favorable review, the French military was not interested in the invention, Gabe did not receive financial support, and his apparatus remained in a single copy, which was not preserved until our times.

The torpedo Gabe was a semi-submerged iron double-hull vessel, driven by a water-cooled eight-cylinder gasoline engine. The lower hull with the engine, radio equipment, batteries and 90-kilogram warhead was completely under water at a depth of about two meters. The upper hull-float was located on the surface and served to install the antenna masts and the engine air intake. Flags were attached to the masts with the help of which the radio navigator tracked the torpedo movement.
Above, there is a French postcard and a photograph showing the launch of a radio-pedal with a rail-mounted steam crane.

The float was very vulnerable to rifle-and-machine-gun fire, and the flags fluttering on the masts served as an excellent guide not only for the gunner, but also for enemy ship shooters. This was one of the main reasons for the refusal of the French Navy, and of all the other fleets, of Gabe, who was clearly ahead of his time. The second reason was the unreliability and small radius of the radio equipment, the third - the relatively low seaworthiness of the machine, and the fourth - the high price of the product.

Radio treads afloat. The air intake socket on the front mast and the downwardly curved exhaust pipe in front of the rear are clearly visible. The purpose of the gas cylinder attached to the front mast is not entirely clear to me, especially since it is visible only in some pictures.

First combat robot

Gustave Gabe near his invention.

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  1. Bayonet
    Bayonet 17 September 2014 10: 03
    Not bad for 1909!
  2. 505506
    505506 17 September 2014 10: 53
    Apparently the high cost and imperfection of technology did not allow the development of thought further. Only the twenty-first century again actively returns to the idea of ​​unmanned aerial vehicles (there is an opinion that underwater vehicles, so far, are more suitable for cutting money. Than for anything else).
    1. Bayonet
      Bayonet 17 September 2014 14: 07
      Quote: 505506
      It is believed that the underwater vehicles, so far, are more suitable for cutting den. means than for anything else).

      Just because they are under water and not visible?
      1. 505506
        505506 18 September 2014 04: 08
        No, because their applied use, in comparison with ground and air, so far resembles the steps of an infant. Despite the fact that the promises and descriptions of bright prospects more than. And under that blah blah allocate money. So far, this is more like the situation with the tsar tank.
  3. schizophrenic
    schizophrenic 17 September 2014 11: 30
    I liked it more, boats controlled from a wire, and mined. Used in 1 mv, quite successfully, for the destruction of moles.