As made evident in the preceding chapters, the aerospace industry and the state have historically maintained a mutually beneficial relationship. 1 In varying degrees, the state's sustained interest in the aircraft industry revolves around the strategic importance of the industry's output to national defence. The militarisation of aircraft evolved from humble beginnings and increased rapidly during World War I. Aerial warfare was not a novel idea, as balloons were utilised as observation platforms from the eighteenth century onwards, and the Austrians actually undertook a balloon bombing raid against Venice in 1849. 2 On 30 June 1910 Glenn Curtiss demonstrated that it was possible to drop weapons from an aircraft in flight, and on 20 August 1910 the first rifle was fired from an aeroplane. 3 Naval adaptations of aviation also emerged, with a Curtiss biplane flown off an American cruiser in November 1910, and in January 1911, another Curtiss biplane landed on a US armoured cruiser. 4 In general however, military aviation received a rather sceptical reception from the upper echelons of the military establishment. In 1910, for instance, Colonel J.E.B. Seely told a number of aviation pioneers that the UK Government, "does not consider that aeroplanes are of any possible use for war purposes". 5 Yet with the onset of war, the military uses of aircraft rapidly came to the forefront, and subsequent industry output paralleled the emerging demands of aerial combat.