Flashback

– The camera that flies to spy – From LOOK magazine, August 6, 1957 –

The oldest and most vital question that has run through the mind of every front-line soldier since Hannibal’s troops slogged their way over the high Alps has been, “What’s on the other side of the mountain?” Since a soldier’s life frequently hangs on the answer, army commanders down through history have put their minds to finding out just what the enemy is up to. Often, thousands of lives have been lost in the process, and the little information that was brought back has turned out to be tragically inaccurate.

Now, an entirely new concept of gathering battlefield intelligence is being developed by the U.S. Army. The Army teaches its troops that no matter what weapons they have, nothing can be done without knowing where the enemy is, or what the enemy is doing. The best artillery in the world is useless, unless the commander in the field knows where to point it.

Today, in the bone-dry desert proving-ground area around Fort Huachuca, Ariz., strange drone aircraft buzz trough the clear sky testing new techniques of gathering information without risking a soldier’s life.

A key item in this military sleuthing is an aerial reconnaissance camera mounted in a small, radar-tracked, remote-control plane.

When a front-line commander wants to know what his adversary is doing, he launches his flying photographic spy, directs is over the target area, and brings it home. Film is developed on the spot. Within an hour of the time he sought information, and without risking the lives of his men on reconnaissance, the commander can look (on film) down the enemy’s throat.

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