Bat Missile


Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Bat Missile

Collection Item Summary:

This is the Bat missile, built by the National Bureau of Standards and one of the most sophisticated U.S. missiles of World War II. It was a glide bomb carried by a Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer patrol bomber or other aircraft and was designed to destroy ships and off-shore enemy targets. It employed a radar-homing system that guided the missile to its target. The Bat was released from its carrier aircraft within a 15- to 20-mile range of its target and carried a 1,000-pound bomb.

Steering was by a controllable tail elevator driven by autopilot servo motors. The Bat missile saw combat in 1945 off Borneo and destroyed several Japanese ships, but it ceased its operational life at the war's end. The U.S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics donated this artifact to the Smithsonian in 1950.

Collection Item Long Description:



Inventory Number


Physical Description

High wing monoplane with rounded, stub nose; horizontal stabilizer and twin vertical, rounded fins. Overall, gray; nose painted lighter gray; this specimen without internal electronics; has internal control box, but this box empty.

Credit Line

Transferred from U.S. Navy

Country of Origin

United States of America


Mainly, wood; screws, steel; nosecone, aluminum base, plexiglass cap; aluminum bulkhead; basic interior frame, center of missile interior, steel; control box, steel.


  • Overall: 11 7/8 in long., 600 lb., 10in. (30.23cm, 272.2kg, 25.4cm)
  • Other (nosecone): 2 ft 5i n. x 1ft 9 1/2 in. (73.66 x 54.61cm)
  • Overall (tail): 6 ft 4 in. (193.04cm)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum



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