Franz von Uchatius (1811–1881) was an Austrian artillery general and inventor. His inventions included both military applications and pioneer work in cinematography.
He invented a motion picture projector in 1853, developing it over the years from 1845 from the device then called stroboscope (Simon von Stampfer) and phenakistiscope (Joseph Plateau). This was the first example of projected animation, demonstrated in 1853; it is also described as the combination of the zoetrope with the magic lantern. It was called the kinetoscope, a term later used by Thomas Edison (see kinetoscope). He applied it to lecture on ballistics.
He worked also on a smokeless powder, improved cannons and alloys (his steel bronze was a copper-tin alloy), Uchatius steel was produced industrially, by mixing granulated iron with iron oxide.
His balloons, were the earliest recorded use of an unmanned aerial vehicle for warfighting occurred on July 1849, serving as a balloon carrier (the precursor to the aircraft carrier) in the first offensive use of air power in naval aviation. Austrian forces besieging Venice attempted to float some 200 incendiary balloons, each carrying a 24- to 30-pound bomb that was to be dropped from the balloon with a time fuse over the besieged city. The balloons were launched mainly from land; however, some were also launched from the Austrian ship SMS Vulcano. The Austrians used smaller pilot balloons to determine the correct fuse settings. At least one bomb fell in the city; however, due to the wind changing after launch, most of the balloons missed their target, and some drifted back over Austrian lines and the launching ship Vulcano.