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cluttonfred

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The "hovertank" is a staple of science fiction novels and board games, yet in the real world fans and skirts never seem to have supplanted wheels or tracks. Does anyone have any projects or prototypes to share on proposed land-based hovercraft?

Cheers,

Matthew
 

flateric

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well, real word has it enough...
http://community.livejournal.com/shushpanzer_ru/55798.html

plus some footage here among other weird projects (hovercraft tanks starting at ~3.45)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrNkV6kVPos&feature=related
 

Antonio

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what is it, a hover tank?, any info available in English?
 

Abraham Gubler

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Mole said:
The "hovertank" is a staple of science fiction novels and board games, yet in the real world fans and skirts never seem to have supplanted wheels or tracks.

Its not an issue of hover plenums vs wheels or tracks, its an issue of physics. Fictional works have the advantage of never having to realize their vision to be interesting.

To actually make a hovercraft as opposed to imagine one you need to suspend a certain weight on a chamber of air. A typical tank weighs 60 tonnes and occupies a footprint of 25 square metres. A comparable sized hovercraft (25 square metre footprint) can support a gross weight of two tonnes. You can make a hovercraft support more weight per square metre of plenum but you have to increase the speed of the air being pumped. This consumes more power to hover, creates a lot more noise and degrades the ground underneath.

To actually make a hovertank you have to support it by a very large plenum. Even without much armour (or any) a hover tank armed with a 120mm gun turret is going to require something as big as a Griffon 4000-8000.
 

Michel Van

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the Hovertank moving fast over ground
not touching Minefield, rivers, lakes, Ditches
was a dream for military, but it became a nightmare

the first prototype show
Hovertank was only to use as fast Reconnaissance light tank
light tank means also easy to destroy
only fast movement save it, so long the Air cushion skirt is not damage

Wat is very easy with Barbed wire, Czech hedgehog and "Rommelspargel"
(last one are Steel tubes with wood Poole of up to 5 meter high at top, mines or pikes)

another problem is steering a Hovercraft
because reduce the friction by Air cushion, its moving like on ice
difficult change direction, for civilian craft no "big" problem
but for a reconnaissance Hovercraft that try dodge "Rommelspargel"
at full speed is matter of life and dead.

after testing military Hovercraft from 1960's to 1980's at NATO, USSR
are only used as Air-cushioned landing craft

Prototypes
USSR we know from YT video
U.S. had also Prototype, i think by Ford.
France only civilian program ?
had U.K. a military hovercraft program?
 

Rickshaw

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When they manage to overcome conservation of momentum they might be able to build a hovertank.

If you watch the Steve Martin movie, "Sgt. Bilko" you'll see an excellent send up of a hovertank and why the bloody things will never work. Fire the gun and guess what happens? :eek:
 

yasotay

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I believe that the US (Army?) used versions of the UK hovercraft in Vietnam in the Mekong Delta region. It did record some overland service if I recall correctly. It was more of a "hover-APC" with .50cal and 7.62cal machine guns. I remember seeing a copy of Popular Mechanics as a kid that had a cover story on the craft.

Physics, shmizics. The only thing you need is iridium armor and a nuclear power plant. ;)
 

Abraham Gubler

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rickshaw said:
If you watch the Steve Martin movie, "Sgt. Bilko" you'll see an excellent send up of a hovertank and why the bloody things will never work. Fire the gun and guess what happens? :eek:

Don't believe everything you see in the movies. Momentum from weapons firing is not such a big deal for a hovercraft. While you may not have the advantage of friction with the ground you still have the weight of the object to overcome plus drag in air. Even a full charge 155mm gun only produces a recoil equal to about 40 tonnes. You can fire large calibre guns of a LCAC if you have to without a Bilko moment.

In any purpose designed heavy weapons hovercraft the station keeping system can be applied to help counter recoil effects. Plus since the recoil won't effect accuracy for a single shot weapon you just take the effect and then keep on flying.

The big thing remains keeping the weight of armour and weapons suspended on the cushion of air.
 

cluttonfred

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Thanks, flateric, for the clip and link and all for the comments.

It does seem that unless you are patrolling wetlands and the like, where the hovercraft becomes a good substitute for a light naval patrol craft, the simple fact is that wheels and tracks can do it better.

Taking Abraham Gubler's numbers, if you can put some useful armor and a weapon capable of killing a 60-ton tank into a 2-ton package, you may as well put rotors on it and fly for real. It does bring to mind the various flying jeep designs and beg the question whether or not some sort of shrouded rotor aircraft would actually be more useful than a "hovertank." If skimming over the mud and snow is good, flying over it and anything else in the way might be even better. Perhaps those Piasecki flying jeeps were onto something but people were looking at them the wrong way--they are not flying jeeps but low-speed, terrain-hugging rotorcraft.
 

yasotay

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Mole said:
Perhaps those Piasecki flying jeeps were onto something but people were looking at them the wrong way--they are not flying jeeps but low-speed, terrain-hugging rotorcraft.

Is that not what the gentleman from Israel is working on?
 

Abraham Gubler

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Mole said:
Taking Abraham Gubler's numbers, if you can put some useful armor and a weapon capable of killing a 60-ton tank into a 2-ton package, you may as well put rotors on it and fly for real.

Not at all. I was indexing a tank and a hovercraft based on garage footprint which is closely related to surface area needing to be armoured (a very important metric for armoured fighting vehicles). But indexing a hovercraft and an aircraft and you find that a hovercraft is far more power efficient for equal weight.

An 8,000 lb hovercraft (eg Griffon 2000 TD) with low plenum loading can be flown on a relatively low power engine (350 hp) compared to an 8,000 lb helicopter (eg EC 145’s 1,500 hp turbines). The hovercraft has a useful load of 2.2 tonnes compared to 1.8 tonnes for the helicopter and an endurance of 10 hours versus 2 ¾ hours for the helicopter. The helicopter can fly at up to 145 knots versus 35 knots for the hovercraft and at altitudes up to 17,000 feet versus surface flight only. The hovercraft burns 7 gallons an hour versus 83 gallons for the helicopter.

This is because the hovercraft flies on a cushion of air trapped inside a plenum chamber compared to flying on lift generated by a wing moving through air. Ground effect versus lift. Of course you can move through a lot more air relying on lift over ground effect.

To demonstrate what an actual 2009 Hovertank would look like let’s do a sketch design.

Starting with the plenum chamber we can use the same size as a 2000 TD but under high pressure and loading like an LCAC. So this 12m by 6m hovercraft could support over 30 tonnes but would need four 3,000 hp gas turbines to fly it. A third of that weight would provide 224,500 cubic inches of 7 series aluminium alloy armour. Which is enough metal for 1,500 square feet of one inch thick armour (7.62mm resistant) or 750 square feet of two inch thick armour (12.7mm resistant). These are big figures but the roof of the plenum chamber would consume 600 square feet alone. Engines would consume 1.5 tonnes, shafting and propellers probably another 2 tonnes. It would burn 2.5 tonnes a fuel an hour (800 gallons) so even with a minimal four hour endurance (400 km range) that’s 10 tonnes or a third of overall weight. Then there are controls, the skirt and everything else. Be lucky to have 2-3 tonnes left over for armament. So you are not looking at more than a lightweight gun system.

So you are looking at a big vehicle four times the size of an MBT, burning 10 tonnes of fuel for every mission, with a very high sound and visual signature, with only bullet proof armour and carrying at most the armament of a Stryker MGS. Personally while it would look very cool at a firepower demonstration I don’t think it’s worth it.
 

uk 75

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I recall a series of novels by James Rouch "The Zone"
published in the 1980s about a British Army unit in
a stalemated WW3 wandering round a wrecked
Central Germany in a hovercraft version of a Warrior
AFV with 30mm Rarden cannon.

UK 75
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5u_2bGPdUY&feature=player_embedded

http://www.dvice.com/2013-4-3/video-day-golfer-designs-versatile-hovercraft-golf-cart
 

Grey Havoc

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From the Flying Tanks thread, courtesy of borovik; The Soviet "amphibious hovering tank" from 1937:



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovercraft_tank

The vehicle's streamlined hull had U-shaped cross-section, following the L-1 boat's layout, and was to be welded from 10...13 mm steel armor plates, with sloping bow and stern.

Two M-25 aircraft engines, producing 1450 hp altogether, propelled two airscrews, which were mounted inside vertical tunnels at bow and stern parts of the hull. The design documentation stipulated that the vehicle, weighting 8,5 ton, would hover at 200–250 mm above water or ground surface and travel at 120 km/h. Cornering was achieved by means of louvers, which regulated the flow of air.

The tank was designed for a two-person crew: the driver who sat behind the forward propeller and the commander/gunner who manned the cylindrical rotating turret. The vehicle's armament consisted of one 7,62 mm (.30 Cal) Degtyarev tank machine gun.

P.S: I think this has shown up in at least one other SPF thread, but I haven't been able to find it again.
 

Tony Williams

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The main problem with a hovercraft on land is that land is not usually anywhere near as flat as a water surface.

The lack of friction with the ground makes it very difficult for a hovercraft to climb a steep hill, and even more so to traverse a slope (it keeps wanting to slide down the slope). And if you travel over a ditch the air cushion escapes down it and you suddenly get dumped onto the ground.

It is brilliant at coping with flat coastal environments as it can move across the sea, the beach, marshlands, quicksand - it just flies over the lot without caring. So it makes a great landing craft or a patrol craft in areas like that. But that's about it...
 

Orionblamblam

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Bell Aerospace proposed a hovercraft as a mobile launcher for the MX missile. and later proposed a hovercraft trailer as a Hard Mobile Launcher for the Small ICBM (with a conventional tractor).
 

Bill Walker

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The MX basing plans probably resulted in terrain of known (and probably low) slopes and roughness, making a hovercraft feasible. A hover trailer has some merit - it seperates the load carrying from the tractive effort. I'm sure whatever towed the hovercraft had wheels and/or tracks.

Or maybe rotors.
 

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A ground based hovercraft is really a design looking for a mission. It won't be as all terrain as tracks, it'll make a tremendoous amount of noise, and it'll also be a gashog. compared to those problems it has a few advantages, mainly having to deal with swamp or coastal conditions- but that's a fairly niche area.
 

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Grey Havoc said:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovercraft_tank

The vehicle's streamlined hull had U-shaped cross-section, following the L-1 boat's layout, and was to be welded from 10...13 mm steel armor plates, with sloping bow and stern.

Two M-25 aircraft engines, producing 1450 hp altogether, propelled two airscrews, which were mounted inside vertical tunnels at bow and stern parts of the hull. The design documentation stipulated that the vehicle, weighting 8,5 ton, would hover at 200–250 mm above water or ground surface and travel at 120 km/h. Cornering was achieved by means of louvers, which regulated the flow of air.

The tank was designed for a two-person crew: the driver who sat behind the forward propeller and the commander/gunner who manned the cylindrical rotating turret. The vehicle's armament consisted of one 7,62 mm (.30 Cal) Degtyarev tank machine gun.

P.S: I think this has shown up in at least one other SPF thread, but I haven't been able to find it again.
Projects by professor V. Levkov
and P. Grokhovsky
 

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uk 75

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The hovertank is a staple of many modern sci fi wargames but as with all dotty ideas its heyday was in the 1960s such as in the TV21 comic.
I suspect the idea was also found in US
comics
 

Fluff

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The hovertank is a staple of many modern sci fi wargames but as with all dotty ideas its heyday was in the 1960s such as in the TV21 comic.
I suspect the idea was also found in US
comics
Are you locked in a time loop this week?
 

Wyvern

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I remember reading somewhere that a few Soviet engineers had tried to design and build a hovertank, mainly for amphibious operations (i.e. beach landings). The idea was that they would be deployed from ships farther out, to protect them from direct fire from beach installations, and, similarly to hovercraft, glide onto the beach. However, these would have been employed to destroy coastal defences and create a beachhead, from which more troops and supplies could have been landed. However, I don't believe that they would have advanced inland, and after a beachhead was successfully established, they would have returned to their ships.

I cannot really confirm this at this point in time, I'll try to find the source. I am also unsure when it was designed, whether it was prewar or postwar.
 

Grey Havoc

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Unfortunately a lot of the stuff relating to hover tanks and the like on DTIC apparently got removed during the 'locking the barn door' purges a while back. :(
 

Grey Havoc

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On another note, from the 1960s, Object 760 (also known as the VP):
https://www.reddit.com/r/TankPorn/comments/8kdqx8

Official classification was as a light amphibious tank. Developed by the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant. Armor was rated to be highly resistant (or immune depending on source) to 7.62 mm high velocity rifle rounds and shell fragments. Could evade pressure triggered AT mines with ease. Primarily intended as a scout tank for artillery, likely at the regimental level.
 
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jstar

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If a hovertank is up on its air cushion, there is little to no friction between it and the ground.

What happens when you fire the main gun?
 

Grey Havoc

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If a hovertank is up on its air cushion, there is little to no friction between it and the ground.

What happens when you fire the main gun?

Some designs over the years have had main armament such as recoilless rifles. Others were based around lasers and other exotic weapons that don't normally produce recoil (though those were often vulnerable to vapourware or developmental hell). Still others had complicated schemes to absorb, reduce or otherwise dissipate recoil and any associated inertia. Some designs were intended as reconnaissance vehicles and the like, meaning the designers could get away with fitting them with relatively light weaponry (at least in theory). A few design concepts I believe have used shear bulk (mostly in the form of armor) as a means to offset recoil, though the other side of the coin there (apart for the need for very heavy duty power plants, not to mention problems with such things as fuel, speed, and inertia) was that such a heavy hovertank might have to stop and set down in order to effectively fire it's main gun.
 

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