- Several countries have tried to make flying tanks, which can self-deploy over long distances.
- The appeal is obvious: A flying tank would eliminate the need for a large cargo transport to carry it.
- While the flying tank concept is theoretically possible, it requires too many design compromises to make an effective tank.
For the last century, the tank has been the decisive arm of land warfare. Heavily armed and armored, tanks are designed to slash through enemy lines on the way to victory. Many countries have tried to solve the tank’s main deficiency, a lack of strategic mobility, by literally making tanks that could fly.
Unfortunately, they’ve all crashed and burned.
The tank came to life in 1915 as a way to break the deadlock of trench warfare on the front lines of Western Europe. Although early tanks were slow and unreliable, rapid wartime development led to fast, powerful tanks that could dominate the battlefield, striking fear into the hearts of lightly armed defenders.
For all their powerful pros, however, tanks come with one major con: it’s really friggin’ hard to move them. Since tanks pack main guns and protective armor, they typically weigh many tons and are completely dependent on other vehicles to get them to the front lines. Armies typically move tanks to the front by train, large truck, or even ship.