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  • General Aircraft Hamilcar Towed Heavy-class Combat Glider

    The General Aircraft Hamilcar heavy glider was used to ferry troops, vehicles and supplies during large-scale airborne-minded operations.

     Updated: 5/24/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    It soon dawned on warplanners as World War 2 (1939-1945) ramped up that the far-reaching campaigns of the conflict would ultimately require equally-far-reaching aircraft in achieving total victory. This led to development of many powered and unpowered forms to help move man, machines and supplies from Point A to Point B. The General Aircraft "Hamilcar" was one of the unpowered contributors to the war effort (albeit on a limited scale), developed by the British and able to carry heavier-than-normal loads such as light-class combat tanks and similar vehicles.

    The development of the Hamilcar coincided with the growth of the British airborne forces. Airborne elements, at their core, were forced to enter battle zones rather lightly-armed and with no armored vehicles in support. Lightweight artillery pieces became a traditional part of the inventory but these fighting forces really lacked the advantage of fighting alongside mechanized armor carrying powerful guns.

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    General Aircraft Hamilcar Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1942
    Type: Towed Heavy-class Combat Glider
    National Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer(s): General Aircraft Ltd - UK
    Production Total: 344

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 2
    Length: 68.01 feet (20.73 meters)
    Width: 110.01 feet (33.53 meters)
    Height: 20.24 feet (6.17 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 18,400 lb (8,346 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 35,999 lb (16,329 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): None. This was a towed glider transport.

    Maximum Speed: 149 mph (240 kph; 130 knots)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    Global Operators / Customers

    United Kingdom (retired)

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    GAL. 49 "Hamilcar" - Company Designation

    GAL. 50 - Company Half-Scale Model Designation

    Hamilcar Mk I - Base Series Designation

    Hamilcar Mk X - Power Late-War Variant; intended for use in Pacific Campaign; never produced.