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A-7
Role Military glider
Designed by Oleg Antonov
First flight 1941
Introduced 1942
Primary user USSR
Produced 1942-?
Number built ~400

The Antonov A-7 was a Soviet light troop military glider of World War II.

Contents

Development

Shortly after the German attack in 1941, Soviet headquarters realized a need for transport gliders and ordered the development of several designs. Oleg Antonov offered a light glider, of which preliminary sketches had been drawn in 1939. It was first named RF-8 (Rot Front-8) and was essentially an enlarged variant of a sports glider, the RF-7. Following trials, its capacity was increased from 5 to 7 persons (including pilot).

The A-7 was an all wooden high winged monoplane, with a retractable undercarriage[1].

It was evaluated in late 1941 and ordered for production, under the designation A-7 (Antonov, 7 persons). Approximately 400 were built[1]. In late 1942 - early 1943, an unusual variant was tested - a tanker glider, fitted with 1000 litre fuel tank, hauled by DB-3 bomber, which was refuelled during flight in order to increase range. It was not produced.

Operational history

The A-7, along with the Gribovski G-11, constituted the majority of Soviet transport gliders. They were mainly used for supplying Soviet partisans with provisions, weapons, equipment and trained men. The most intensive use was from April to November 1943 in Belarussia, in the Polotsk-Begoml-Lepel area. Several hundreds of Soviet gliders (of all types) were used in night supply flights at this time. After landing, gliders were destroyed and pilots were sometimes taken back by aircraft. Gliders were also used to supply partisans in some areas in 1944. They were also used to transport sabotage groups behind enemy lines, though the small capacity of the A-7 made it not very suitable for such actions. A-7s were towed mainly by SB or DB-3 bombers (The DB-3 could tow two A-7s).

A less typical action was an air bridge from Moscow to the Stalingrad area in November 1942, in order to quickly deliver antifreeze cooling liquid for tanks, during the battle of Stalingrad.

The A-7 was considered a successful design, but it had less capacity than the other light glider, the G-11. Moreover, a place for cargo was limited by an arrangement of seats and a presence of cantilevers of a retractable landing gear in the center of a transport compartment. It could transport 7 troops (including pilot) or up to 900 kg of cargo.

Description

High-wing, mixed construction (mostly wooden). Fuselage semi-monocoque, rectangular in cross-section. Single-seat pilot's cab in front. Behind it, a transport compartment, with six seats: two on sides in front (heading towards each other), two on sides in back, and two in the middle (heading towards front and back). There were double doors in the left side in front, and in the right side in back (left front and right back seats must be raised prior to opening door). There were small round windows in doors and sides opposite to doors. Wings were three-part, plywood and fabric covered. Landing gear was manually retractable, its cantilevers were in transport compartment between two central seats. In order to shorten landing, the glider could seat on a skid under a fuselage.

Operators

 Soviet Union

Specifications

General characteristics

  • Crew: One, pilot
  • Capacity: 7 troops (including pilot)
  • Payload: 900 kg (1,980 lb)
  • Length: 10.54 m (34 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 18 m (59 ft 0½ in)
  • Height: 1.53 m (5 ft)
  • Wing area: 23.20 m² (250 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 955 kg (2101 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 1760 kg (3782 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1875 kg (4125 lb)

Performance

See also

Comparable aircraft

References

  1. ^ a b Gunston, Bill (1995). The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft from 1875 - 1995. London: Osprey Aerospace. ISBN ISBN 1-85532-405-9.  

External links

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