A brief history of flying tanks: an idea that failed enchantingly

After the First World War, in which tanks became a serious striking force, the idea arose to deliver them to the battlefield by air and even "teach" them to fly on their own. For all its attractiveness, it turned out to be far from easy to realize due to the large weight of combat vehicles. As you know, traditionally they were delivered to the front line by rail or by sea.

During World War II, another attempt to create a flying tank was made in the USSR. As a result, in 1942, a hybrid of the airframe and the A-40 combat vehicle (based on the T-60 light tank) was born, developed under the leadership of the outstanding Soviet aircraft designer O.K. Antonov.

The A-40 did not have its own aircraft engine, so it was delivered to the front line like a regular glider - by being towed by a transport aircraft. However, the program was soon closed: the Red Army at that time did not have the required number of such aircraft.

Light tank T-60, on the basis of which the hybrid A-40 was created

Japan also did not stand aside, proposing the concept of its own flying tank No. 3. And the UK has developed a transport glider specifically for the transport of tanks - "Baynes Bat". However, all these projects were united by one thing - none of them was ever implemented.

However, a number of attempts to airlift tanks were nevertheless successful: the United States and Great Britain built the M22 Locust and A-17 Tetrarch transport gliders, capable of carrying various cargo, including light tanks.

M22 Locust exits transport glider

The idea of ​​a self-flying tank is a legacy these days. In Russia, it was revised and developed instead of the airborne combat vehicle - BMD. Currently, the BMD-4M is entering service with the Russian troops, a combat amphibious tracked vehicle with powerful weapons, designed both for transporting paratroopers and for conducting hostilities, to the place of which it is delivered by landing from a transport aircraft.

There is nothing like this in any army in the world, including the United States. In the US Army, 68-ton M1A2 Abrams are still flown to combat operations by C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft and unloaded at field airfields.

Landing of BMD-4M