Walking across the second floor overlooking the main exhibit hall of Deutsches Museum Munich, the museum shows an interesting information sign about the Argus-Drohnen As 292 tested by the Luftwaffe during World War Two. Unfortunately there is no Argus drone on display and the visitor will have to make the best of some pictures of the device.
Starting from its design by the Argus Flugmotorenwerke GmbH in 1937, the Argus As 292 drone was initially developed as an unmanned remote controlled target for Luftwaffe Anti-Aircraft gunners. In this role it was designated Flakzielgerät 43. After an unguided maiden flight in June 1937, the drone made it’s first real remote-controlled flight on May 14th 1939.
During further testing at the Rechlin Luftwaffe Testing Site of the As 292 prototype, camera’s were fitted to the drone, in order to test it’s abilities as an aerial reconnaissance device. The drone could be fitted with up to two camera’s. On 2 October 1939 the drone successfully made an aerial reconnaissance photography flight. The weight of the camera equipment however affected the drone’s range and so it could only be used for short-range missions.
The Argus drone had an equal wingspan and length of the fuselage of 2.4 meters and a netto weight of 27 kilograms. The drone was powered by a 6 hp Argus engine and could reach a top speed of 100km per hour. The average time of endurance was 30 minutes, but this varied under the influence of it’s equipment configuration. The As 292’s wings could be removed for transport.
At the end of 1939 after the successful testing of the drone, Argus received an order for the production of a series of a hundred Argus As 292 drones from the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM), which were delivered between 1942 and 1943. There are no known surviving Argus drones at present day.