Missile, Guided, Air-to-Surface, Bat


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a 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. This artifact was found in the Smithsonian's collections.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

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

Credit Line

Found in Collection


Overall, wood, probably pine; nose might be plastic; mounts for vacuum tubes and other internals, steel; steel bolts and hinges for panels; vacuum tubes, plastic and glass; electrical wires with white plastic insulation


  • 3-D (Weight with crate): 571.5kg (1260lb.)
  • Length: 10 feet; span: 11 feet, 9 inches; width: approximately 22.75 inches

Country of Origin

United States of America

Physical Description

  • When assembled, a high wing monoplane with rounded stub nose and horizontal stabilizer. Overall, yellow; undercoat in some places appears to be gray; several panels along the top of the fuselage; one panel, 21.25 inches long by approximately 11 inches wide, is easily opened and reveals part of the original guidance assembly with at least 11 vacuum tubes; the panel door has the following stenciled in faded black, "Lot 23____ [illeg.]" followed by the date, barely legible, Sept. 18, 1944.
  • Wood cracked with holes in back of fuselage.



Inventory Number


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