Here I go again saying how Germany missed an opportunity - twice - to be the world's technical superpower by starting wars that numerically proved it could never win. Scientists and engineers of Deutschland designed and implemented what would be the first wirelessly guided missile for correcting the flight path of the V-2 rocket (the 'V' stood for Vergeltungswaffe, or vengeance weapon). This article from a 1945 edition of Radio News describes how a radio 'cone' was formed by a ground-based transmitter array that caused an airborne guidance system to keep the rocket on course during the boost phase of its flight. Embarrassingly, I don't recall having known about this amazing technology.
How the V-2 Rocket Is Wirelessly Controlled
High-Altitude photographs taken by U. S. bombers record that V-2 rockets rise into the air in zig-zags controlled by a device known as a "radio cage," is reported from British sources.
This control equipment is carried inside the V-2 and is part of the system for altering the path of the rocket in flight.
It consists of a circular launching area ringed with radio units each sending up an invisible beam. These beams cone like a group of searchlights at a point perhaps 10 to 15 miles above the earth forming a cage enclosing the launching area below.
On striking any part of the cage, the projectile rising off the ground receives impulses from a beam which deflects it in a zig-zag path from one side of the cage to the other until it emerges at the top.
This aiming system establishes direction only; range is determined by fuel consumption.
Posted December 11, 2014