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27 June 1945

From: Director, Special Devices Division
To:Head, Design Section
Engineering Coordinator
Subject: Directional Kite Detonator, project request for
Reference:Telephone conversations between Unit Head, Lt. H. Ketcham of Demonstration Unit and Lieut. Lichtenstein of the Demolition Group, Ft. Belvoir, Va., 27 June

  1. While discussing the potentialities of the Target Kite with the Unit Head, Lt. Ketcham expressed the idea that it might be used to carry charges of explosives to a designated spot.
  2. Unit Head recalled that he had at one time made the experiment of carrying a light explosive aloft on the kite, together with a flashlight battery and had exploded it in the air by looping the kite and this short circuiting a section of piano wire in the flying line. This idea was at the time thought to be of use as a barrage defence against diving airplanes. The light load which can be lifted by the Mark 1 kite is a limiting factor, but the method is operable.
  3. Also recalled was the demonstration at American University of various booby traps and detonators, and the resultant thought that some of these might be airborne by means of the kite.
  4. In the referenced conversation Lt. Ketcham told Lt. Lichtenstein, who had become quite interested in the kite while on a tour of the Division, of his belief in the possibilities of the kite as an explosive carrier. In a subsequent conversation with the Unit Head, Lt. Lichtenstein stated that full facilities for test and the required detonators would be furnished by the Army at Ft. Belvoir. He is anxious to see the kite flown with the several means for detonation at present considered applicable by the Unit Head, these are:

    1. Electrical detonation in mid air; shorting a circuit by looping the kite. (Previously tried, paragraph 2.)
    2. Electrical detonation in mid air by closing a circuit with a mercury switch, operated by gravity as the kite is inverted.
    3. Electrical detonation in mid air by closing a switch on the reel, using insulated wires as flying lines.
    4. Mechanical detonation against a solid object by diving the kite against the object and driving an extended pin against a blasting cap or booby trap detonator, carried by the kite.

  5. Application of this proposed device would be in use against suicide airplanes and against ground troops holed-up in trenches or caves. The unique steerability of the target kite enables it to be directed against any mark within its area of operation.
  6. Suggested designation: 5-DKD

Noted and forwarded

Approved Disapproved