The M247 Sgt. Alvin York anti-aircraft tank was such a colossal failure that the U.S. Army might pay as much for everyone to forget it ever existed as they paid to make the tank.
Named after the legendary sharpshooter Sergeant Alvin Cullum York, who was one of the most decorated Army soldiers of World War I, the military tank built in the late 1970s was pitched to officials and lawmakers as one of the best precision shooter tanks.
Its main boast was that it could shoot down the Russian Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter which was known to fly low to attack ground troops at close range.
But it completely failed.
According to We Are The Mighty, the tank was a disaster, as it “couldn’t fight, couldn’t shoot accurately, and couldn’t tell the difference between a toilet and an enemy aircraft.”
The M247 reportedly “came from a requirement for a ‘Division Air Defense’ weapon,” but came during a time where money was extremely tight for the United States military. Because of this, Ford Aerospace and General Dynamics went into production to make the tank at the expense of American tax-payers.
Due to the shortage of funds, some corners had to be cut, namely the production of the tank came from recycled parts and existing military surplus sources.
According to Defense Media Network, this meant that the tank “would be built using the chassis of the M48A5 Patton 48-ton medium tank.” The tank also featured twin 40 mm guns which were mounted on an armored turret that contained tracking and surveillance radar on top.
The weapon was expected to be able to shoot down enemy-aircraft but when the tank was delivered in 1983, it was clear that the corners that had been cut impacted the effectiveness of the weapon tremendously.
It was heavy, and the tracking turret was too slow to actually catch a moving target. Further, the guns blocked the radar’s view, and it could not stand up to the heat and vibrations caused by its operational parts. One soldier who operated the behemoth said the only way the M247 would be able to strike a target was by running over it — not exactly what was originally intended.
Several tests resulted in massive failures, like when the M247 locked on to a nearby latrine fan instead of the fast-flying target drone that it was assigned to. Or the time it literally missed a hovering helicopter drone that was positioned right in front of it. Or when it swung its gun toward an audience of congressmen during a demonstration leading to minor injuries as the officials ran for cover.
Finally, on August 27,1985 after about 50 vehicles were produced, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger canceled the program.
The military wished they had never spared the expense to create the beast but there is a bright side … Several of the remaining M247s wound up being targets for Air Force bombing ranges.
Like us on Facebook – USA Liberty News
Share this story on Facebook and Twitter with your thoughts about the failed M247.
What do you think about this massive failure of a military weapon? Scroll down to comment below!