The Myasischev VM-T Atlant was a modified Myasischev 3M
'Bison' bomber which was specially designed to carry large
external loads on its back.
Built for the Soviet Air Force, and first flown in 1981,
the VM-T Atlant was the Soviet answer to NASA's modified
Boeing 747 shuttle carrier.
The Myasischev VM-T Atlant had a redesigned v-shaped tail
section and an array of external mounting points to accept
different sized loads. In addition, a new control system
was added to the aircraft to compensate for the additional
The Myasischev VM-T Atlant could carry up to 40 tons,
and they were used to transport items like rocket launcher
components, the Buran space shuttle, and rocket fuel tanks.
A large cargo container, placed on top of the aircraft,
would usually contain the freight.
Three Myasischev VM-T Atlants were constructed, however
one was just a static test model.
The Atlants were eventually replaced by the gargantuan
Anotov An-225 Mriya - which has the advantage of a large
internal cargo space, as well as exterior mounting points.
Both Atlants still exist. One is kept at the Zhukovsky
airfield in Russia, the other is at Dyagilevo Air Force
Base in Ryazan.
Similar and related vehicles:
Messerschmitt Me 323 gigant
Mil V-12 'Homer'