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Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka
A flying bomb is a manned or unmanned aerial vehicle or small aircraft carrying a large explosive warhead, a precursor to contemporary cruise missiles. In contrast to a bomber aircraft, which is intended to release bombs and then return to its base for re-use, a flying bomb crashes into its target and is therefore itself destroyed in its attack.

The term flying bomb is most frequently associated with two specific Second World War weapons, the German V-1 and the Japanesemarker Ohka. The former was unpiloted, the latter carried a pilot on a kamikaze mission.

Perhaps because of these Axis connotations, the term cruise missile is more commonly used in English for modern munitions that might otherwise fit the definition of a flying bomb.


The first attempt to build a flying bomb (alternatively called an "aerial torpedo" in the Navy) was undertaken by Elmer Sperry in 1916, called the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane, and was based on a Curtiss N-9 seaplane. This led to a mission-specific Curtis design, the Curtiss-Sperry Flying Bomb, which was almost completely unsuccessful. The US Army also tried to develop a flying bomb in World War I, the Kettering Bug, but the war ended before the program could mature. The most famous example of a flying bomb is the Germanmarker V-1, many of which targeted Londonmarker in 1944 during World War II.


Flying bombs may be powered or unpowered, piloted or unpiloted, although unpowered flying bombs such as the United States Navy Bat and Germanmarker Hagelkorn ("Hailstone") and Fritz X designed during World War II are usually referred to as glide bombs. Flying bombs differ from missiles in that a flying bomb is equipped with wings to provide lift over a long distance, where missiles are usually launched on ballistic trajectories and do not rely on lift to reach their targets.

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