Aviation Historian 13
V.Kotelnikov - Russia's Real Flying Tanks
Although of poor quality, this is one of the few prototype, which incorporated a T-60 tank with the turret removed. Nicknamed “the turtle” by Flight Testing Institute personnel, the craft made a series of short hops and one test flight during August-September 1942, but was not adopted for production.
Development of the Antonov A-40 tank-glider - also known as the Letayuschiy Tank (LT) or Krilya Tank (KT), both meaning Flying Tank - began in December 1941 and was completed at Tyumen on April 26, 1942. Both wings were fitted with ailerons and 45 deg. slotted flaps, the flying controls being operated from the driving position of the tank. The A-40's 18m (59ft 6 1/2in) wing provided a total wing area of 85.8m2 (924ft2). The sole prototype's length was 12.06m (39ft 6in) and its height overall was 3.67m (12ft).
Based on an original Soviet illustration depicting the use of the Rafnik flying tank on the battlefield, this specially-commissioned artwork by TIM O’BRIEN GAvA shows the intended role of the craft, which was to land behind the front line and attack the enemy from the rear.
The Rafnik flying tank project devised by Aram Rafaelyants and Vasiliy Nikitin in 1932 was a comparatively elegant concept with a retractable undercarriage, but never made the transition from paper to prototype.
Devised on a much larger scale than the Rafnik, the TsAGI tank glider incorporated a high-aspect-ratio wing of some 36m (118ft) span. Pairs of twin booms attached to the rear spars incorporated control surfaces, and a fuselage extended from the rear of the tank to a triple-fin tail.
J. Walter Christie (far right, pointing) demonstrates the tank element of his M-1932 flying tank design to the members of a military commission in the USA in 1932. The wingless and turretless prototype proved to be fast on paved surfaces using its untracked wheels, but the concept of a flying tank was not deemed worthy of further exploration in the USA.
Christie’s original concept for a three-man flying tank, later developed into the M-1932. The biplane wings were of thick aerofoil section, with the cables for the flying controls and driveshaft for the four-bladed propeller passing through a central strut housing. The M-1932 never flew and Christie moved on to other tank-related projects.
A contemporary document detailing the essentials of Nikolai Kamov’s intriguing “heli-tank” concept, actually a heavily-armoured autogyro bristling with machine-guns. The craft’s Mikulin M-34 powerplant was rated at 820 h.p. at 1,850 r.p.m.