Antonov A40

Fact for 26/5/2021



was a Soviet attempt to allow a Tank to glide onto a battlefield after being towed aloft by an airplane, to support airborne forces or partisans .A prototype was built and tested in 1942, but was found to be unworkable. This vehicle is sometimes called the A-40T or KT

Design and development

Instead of loading light tanks onto gliders, as other nations had done, Soviet airborne forces had strapped T-27 tankettes underneath heavy bombers and landed them on airfields. In the 1930s, there were experimental efforts to parachute tanks or simply drop them into water. During the 1940 occupation of besserbia , light tanks may have been dropped from a few meters up by TB-3 bombers, which, as long as the gearbox was in neutral, would allow them to roll to a stop.

The biggest problem with air-dropping vehicles is if their crews are dropped separately, and may be delayed or prevented from bringing them into action. Today's Russian Airborne VDV has specially cushioned seats in their BMD family of light tanks with which drivers are inside them when dropped. Gliders allow crews to arrive at the drop/landing zone along with their vehicles. They also minimize exposure of the valuable towing aircraft, which need not appear over the battlefield. So the Soviet Air Force ordered Oleg Antonov to design a glider for landing tanks

He added a detachable cradle to a T-60 light tank bearing large wood and fabric biplane wings and a twin tail . Such a tank could glide into the battlefield, drop its wings, and be ready to fight within minutes

One T-60 was converted into a glider in 1942, intended to be towed by a Petlyakov Pe-8 or a Tupelov TB-3 The tank was lightened for air use by removing its armament, ammunition and headlights, and leaving a very limited amount of fuel. Even with these modifications, the TB-3 bomber had to ditch the glider during its only flight
Due to the lack of a sufficiently-powerful aircraft to tow it at the required 160 km/h (99 mph), the project was abandoned

The Soviet Union continued to develop methods to efficiently deploy airborne vehicles. By the mid-1970s they were able to para-drop BMD-1 fighting vehicles with their crew aboard