On July 30, 1957, a modified Kaman HTK-1K helicopter successfully lifted off under remote control. Nicknamed the “Yellow Peril”, the copter was manufactured by Kaman Aerospace of Bloomfield, Connecticut. It was developed as part of a continuing program by the United States military and its aerospace contractors to create drone helicopters capable of delivering weapons such as torpedoes.
The HTK-1K was 14 feet high, 38 feet long, and had a rotor with a 40-foot span. It was powered by a single 450-horsepower Lycoming engine and had a top speed of 72 mph. The series of tests the US Navy conducted with the HTK-1K led it to develop the Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter program, or DASH. The Gyrodyne Company of Long Island eventually won the contract to develop the DASH, which would become a cheap and unmanned method to deliver conventional and nuclear anti-submarine weapons at great range and without risk to military personnel.
Image Credit: W. Mutza/National Museum of Naval Aviation