The control system involved a lens at the front of the missile projecting an image of the target to a screen inside, while a pigeon trained (by operant conditioning) to recognize the target pecked at it. As long as the pecks remained in the center of the screen, the missile would fly straight, but pecks off-center would cause the screen to tilt, which would then, via a connection to the missile's flight controls, cause the missile to change course and slowly travel towards its designated target/s.
Although skeptical of the idea, the National Defense Research Committee nevertheless contributed $25,000 to the research. However, Skinner's plans to use pigeons in bat bombs was considered too eccentric and impractical; although he had some success with the training, he could not get his idea taken seriously. The program was canceled on October 8, 1944, because the military believed that "further prosecution of this project would seriously delay others which in the minds of the Division have more immediate promise of combat application."
Project Pigeon was revived by the Navy in 1948 as "Project Orcon"; it was canceled in 1953 when electronic guidance systems' reliability was proven.
See also 
- "Top secret weapons revealed". Military Channel. 2012-08-14.
- Colton Coy Cardinal (2010). Cumulative Record. Peace River, Alberta: Appleton-Century-Crofts. ISBN 0-87411-969-3.
- C.V. Glines: Top Secret World War II Bat and Bird Bomber Program, Aviation History, May 2005, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p38-44
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