A-40: why did the Soviet

Weapons 29/12/19 A-40: why did the Soviet “flying” tank made only one flight

the Author of this project – the famous Soviet aircraft designer Oleg Antonov, under whose leadership, in particular, was created several dozen types of transport, passenger and multi-purpose aircraft-grade An. In contrast, existing to this day, the “flying tank A-40 (“tank Wings”)” was able to implement only a single flight.

Why it started to do

In the biographical book by Vasily Zakharchenko “Oleg Antonov” describes how did the work on this unusual project. At the beginning of the war, the Antonov design Bureau was evacuated to Tyumen. At that time, the designer has already started designing the seven-seat cargo glider A-7 for the delivery of goods guerrilla forces. As noted by Vasily Zakharchenko, during the years of the great Patriotic war in the Western Siberia under the direction of Oleg Antonov was created by dozens of suppliers of troops, weapons, ammunition and food, they acted even beyond the borders of the USSR, in particular, dumped the cargo to the Yugoslav partisans.

Tyumen Antonov began work on the project is a flying tank that could be delivered at the front line of heavy aircraft. From Gorky to Tyumen was delivered developed in August 1941 by the designer Nicholas Astrov six-ton tank T-60 (of a war in the released Gas).

According to the draft of the aircraft design with the T-60 (it was called A-40 (CT)) was a combination of airframe, a fuselage of which served the tank corps, and the chassis had to perform the role of the chassis. Towing A-40 was planned to be implemented with the help of Soviet heavy bombers TB-3 or DB-3F, flying tanks intended to transfer to the front line as the troops and weapons for the guerrillas.

How was working on a project

the material of the magazine “Around the world” reported that on the creation of a flying tank, Oleg Antonov started to work at the end of the first year of the great Patriotic war. The project has been ready for 2 weeks, and by next summer gliding Tyumen plant had produced the prototype “Wings of the tank”.

the Wingspan of a glider is 18 meters, the length of the aircraft was just over 12 meters. The tank was controlled by cables, connected to the place occupied in the armored vehicle mechanic-the driver. To facilitate flight weight tank freed from armament, ammunition, headlights, and fenders and almost all fuel. In the end, the weight of the tank-glider pulled by 7.8 tons.

the First and last flight

In the book “Oleg Antonov” in the words of the designer and driver of the “tank Wings” Sergey Anokhin, the author describes the test flight of the A-40 in early September 1942 on the airfield near Moscow Ramenskoye. Anokhin recalled that when attaching the glider to the TB-3 he using a special mirror saw mounting tensioned steel cables, tank lined multi-ton, suspended from the bomber edifice after it was lifted in the air – so it would not roll. Control a-40 in flight was normal.

According to the memoirs of Antonov, the tank off the ground even before TB running pilot Peter Eremeev – Anokhin promptly lowered the flaps. Bomber with a suspended tank made a circle over the airfield and disappeared. As it turned out, the TB-3 overheated motors and Eremeyev on the radio ordered Anokhin “disengaged”. Planned tanker-pilot on the airfield Bykovo successfully, without incident, and Planernaya “plumage” has started a movement to CP.

the airport Attendants began to take combat positions, the gunners are also ready for battle: they knew nothing about the testing of top secret weapons and did not expect such a landing. Bomber returned to the original airfield, pilot Pyotr Yeremeyev reported the incident. Soon A-40 drove his way from the airport Bykovo.

Insoluble remains the problem of transporting such a flying tank: heavy bombers in world war II was not enough and test the TB-3 showed that the aircraft be transported “Wings of the tank”, especially at long range, not capable. Therefore, the project’s further development is not received.

it is Noteworthy that subsequently, after the war, 50 years, to transport tanks by air and drop them by parachute in the Soviet Union is still possible, and again thanks to the design ideas of Oleg Antonov is on his military transport An-8 was installed the most powerful turboprop engine AI-20, which allowed the aircraft to withstand heavy loads in the form of armor. Then Antonov design Bureau for these purposes have developed other, more advanced transporters.

Nicholas Syromyatnikov

© Russian Seven

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