After the First World War, in which the tanks became a serious shock force, the idea arose to deliver them on the battlefield by air and even “teach” to fly on their own. For all its attractiveness, it was far from just because of the large weight of combat vehicles. As you know, traditionally they were delivered to the front line by rail, or by sea transport.
During World War II, another attempt to create a flying tank was made in the USSR. As a result, in 1942, the A-40 hybrid (based on a light T-60 tank), developed under the leadership of the outstanding Soviet aircraft designer, was born. TO. Antonova.
A-40 did not have its own air engine, so it was delivered to the front line as a regular glider-using the towing by a transport aircraft. However, the program was soon closed: the Red Army at that time did not have the right number of such aircraft.
Light tank T-60, on the basis of which the A-40 hybrid was created
Japan did not stand aside, which proposed the concept of its own flying tank No. 3. And the UK developed a transport glider specifically for the transportation of tanks – “Baynes Bat”. However, all these projects united one – not one of them was implemented.
However, a number of attempts to transfer tanks by air were still successful: the USA and the UK built the M22 Locust and A-17 Tetrarch transport glider, capable of transporting various goods, including light tanks.
M22 Locust leaves the transport glider
Nowadays, the idea of an independent tank is the property of history. In Russia, it was revised and developed instead of the combat vehicle of the landing – BMD. Currently, the Russian troops entered the service of the BMD-4M, a combat floating caterpillar vehicle with powerful weapons, designed both for transporting paratroopers and for conducting hostilities, to the place of which it is delivered by the landing method from a transport aircraft.
There is nothing like this in any army in the world, including the United States. In the American army, the 68-ton M1A2 Abrams is still delivered to the place of combat operations by transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster III and are unloaded to field airfields.
Source — Intersting Engineering