Plans Rocket Driven Bomb to Chase and Wreck Plane (Jul, 1931)

Wouldn’t the noise of it’s own passage mask any sound an engine would make?

Plans Rocket Driven Bomb to Chase and Wreck Plane

A bomb that could chase an airplane in the air and destroy it is the amazing war weapon proposed by a San Diego, Calif., man. Launched from the ground automatically, the self-propelled rocket bomb would be guided in the air by the sound of the plane’s motor. No matter how the pilot might twist and turn, the bomb would follow him until it overtook the plane. The impact would set off a charge of high explosive.

A model of such a bomb was recently exhibited to a Popular Science Monthly correspondent by Dr. Gustav Rasmus, San Diego patent attorney, who suggests this unique defense weapon. According to this inventor, he is secretly testing the possibilities of the plan with actual working models. If found practical, it would be used in the following way, he says:

For firing, the bomb is set in a mortarlike stand connected to sound detectors. The sound of an airplane passing overhead starts the bomb electrically. Its rocket motor enables it to travel fast enough to overtake the swiftest airplane.

In the air the bomb is guided by sensitive “ears” housed in knobs on the four guide vanes. They actuate rudder flaps. An impact on any one of five points detonates a charge of high explosive in the head of the bomb. Such a bomb, Dr. Rasmus says, could be made as large as desired.

  1. Casandro says: April 7, 200811:22 pm

    Well masking is a phychoacoustical phenomenon. It doesn’t exist for machines. So theoretically you could filter it out.

  2. Myles says: April 8, 20089:29 am

    It would be pretty easy to confuse such a rocket, once the enemy knew about it. They could just dump firecrackers, instead of flares and chaff – or glide with the engine off untill safe.

  3. Slim says: April 8, 20089:40 am

    It’s OK until a guy on a Harley goes by.
    This reminds me of Professor Fate’s torpedo in the movie The Great Race.

  4. Blurgle says: April 8, 200811:27 pm

    Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t have a chance against one of these.

  5. Emcha says: April 8, 200811:50 pm

    Hungarians developed an acoustically guided air-to-air missile during the WWII. Never deployed during the war however…

  6. stratic says: April 10, 200811:09 pm

    “Wouldn’t the noise of it’s own passage mask any sound an engine would make?”

    probably not.

    rocket powers up to a height above the plane.

    rocket engines disengage.

    rocket performs a rapid glide toward target aircraft guided by triangulation established by multiple “ears” on the ground, as depicted in the illustration.

    of course, the system is still pretty unworkable, but since the “ears” are on the ground and the rocket motor would probably be disengaged before impact, the sound of the rocket’s passage isn’t the primary issue.

  7. stratic says: April 10, 200811:11 pm

    .. but it is remarkable that this guy conceived the essential elements of a SAM.

  8. not likely says: July 29, 20087:43 am

    Not only that, but such a listening system was actually used in England to listen for incoming Luftwaffe raids, then by the Russians to try and defend against supersonic low-flying bombers (minus the interceptor part, of course, which was delegated to radar-aimed missiles).

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