The KUW-1 Loon was the U.S. Navy version of Germany´s "Vergeltungswaffe Eins" or V-1. The U.S. Navy intended the Loon as a weapon against surface ships and ground targets to be launched from submarines and surface ships. Packing a 2,100 pound warhead and powered by a pulse jet engine, able to use all types of gasoline, the 150 mile range of the Loon made it a versatile over-the-horizon weapon. Previously only air craft carriers could strike targets over 100 miles away.
Development of the Loon was initiated by the U.S. Navy´s Bureau of Aeronautics. Project Loon created derivative missiles from studying JB-2 missiles (the U.S. Army’s version of the V-1) provided by the U.S. Army Air Force (the U.S. Air Force wasn’t yet established as a separate service). The AAF had captured V-1s in Europe and was examining the possibilities of using their technology to create a reliable cruise missile to attack land targets.
The Loon was tracked in-flight by radar and controlled by radio unlike the V-1s which used a gyrocompass-based autopilot. This made Loon more flexible than the V-1s that inspired it. The U.S. Navy successfully launched Loons from both submarines and surface ships. No Loons were ever used in combat but they were the U.S. Navy´s first guided missile. The lessons that were learned in the development and testing of the Loon laid the foundations for every guided missile in the U.S. Navy arsenal today.
Guided Missiles: Theory of Operation: This training film explains the theory and principles of guided missiles, the various missile engines, and how guided missiles are used during the time period the film was made.