In 1980, amidst the Cold War tension, the United States and its allies viewed the Soviet Union as their primary adversary. Anticipating a potential Europe-centered World War III, similar to World War II, military strategists expected a conventional conflict dominated by massive armored forces vying for key positions. Despite the presence of nuclear weapons, it was believed that this war would be fought conventionally, utilizing regular equipment and cutting-edge technology. To meet the demands of rapid response and flexible combat forces, the U.S. Army initiated the development of a light tank that could be swiftly airlifted into action.
AAI, a private company, responded to this challenge by privately developing a light tank prototype, hoping to garner interest from the U.S. Army. The initial prototype featured a 76mm main gun in a two-man turret with a crew of three and an innovative modular power pack system for rapid repairs and replacements. As the project progressed, subsequent prototypes incorporated advanced features such as a high-speed M32 75mm cannon with casingless ammunition for faster firing and greater armor penetration. These light tanks were designed for improved mobility, including the ability to fire while on the move, making them highly adaptable for the anticipated conflict.
AAI's RDF/LT (Rapid Deployment Force/Light Tank) aimed to compete with the latest light tank models by offering enhanced maneuverability, amphibious capabilities, and a potent main gun with high-velocity projectiles. Additionally, the tank's portability was a crucial aspect of its design, allowing two of these tanks to be transported within a single Lockheed C-130H Hercules transport aircraft, facilitating rapid deployment in the event of a Europe-centric conflict.
Year of Service: 1980
Origins: United States
Status: Development ended.
Manufacturer: AAI Corporation - USA
Carrier: United States
Air Defense/Airspace Denial
The base model or variants can be used to search, track and neutralize aerial elements at a distance.
Support allied ground forces using weapons, inherent capabilities, and/or shipborne systems.
Tanks vs. Tanks
Fight with armored vehicles of similar form and function.
The vehicle uses a track wheel arrangement to provide improved off-road capability.
Drive-through owner weapon
The weapon is located in the traversing module and can counter the enemy threat in all directions.
The main gun has an integrated recoil mechanism that allows the system to remain in training after firing at the target.
Shoot anytime, anywhere
Airborne systems of modern quality ensure the accuracy of the main weapon and allow firing on the move.
The main gun system includes an autoloader function to reduce crew involvement.
The design includes features such as a chain linkage system or high ground clearance for better traversing of terrain.
Angled armor on critical faces adds inherent ballistic protection to the vehicle.
Crew are protected (standard or optional) by nuclear biological and chemical agents to improve survivability in contaminated areas.
The vehicle itself can generate a smoke screen either through fired projectiles or built-in engine function (raw fuel injection).
Night vision equipment is available to the crew to allow operation in low light conditions or at night.
Available for air defense/air defense
The system will receive an air defense component to protect itself from low-flying threats from afar.
Airborne solutions provide the ability to neutralize armored or hardened targets remotely using missiles or penetrating ballistic weapons.
Vehicles have built-in anti-infantry capabilities for local vehicle defense or general troop suppression.
The vehicle's proven chassis and overall configuration are ideal for other battlefield roles through special design.
Length: 26.9 feet (8.2m)
Width: 8.2 feet (2.5m)
Height: 7.2 feet (2.2m)
Weight: 32,628 lbs (14,800 kg)
Tonnage: 16.3 tons
Engine: 1 x Detroit Diesel 6V53T 350hp turbo diesel engine driving a conventional sprocket arrangement.
Speed: 39.8 km/h (64.0 km/h)
Area: 298. 3 miles (480.0 km)
1 x 75mm M32 Autoloader Autocannon in turret. 1 x 7.62mm M240 coaxial machine gun in the turret.
50 x 75 mm projectile. 2,600x7.62mm ammunition.
RDF/LT 1 - first prototype; two-person turret, three-person crew, with 76mm main gun.
RDF/LT 2 - Second prototype with a high-speed rapid-fire 75mm M32 main gun mounted in a two-man turret; trio.
RDF/LT 3 - third proposed prototype; hull crew of two; unmanned turret with autoloader.
RDF/LT 4 - Final proposed prototype; hull crew of two; two four-shot Stinger rocket launchers added to turret.