28 Oct 2013

U.S. Navy A/S32A-32A Hangar Deck Tractor Model

The A/S32A-32A tractor is specially designed to tow, turn and position aircraft in confined spaces of hangar decks and elevators. The vehicle is currently in active service on all US Navy aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious ships (Tarawa and Wasp classes).

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7004). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts, decals and instruction sheet. When building a diorama, note that these tractors do not tow aircraft on the flight deck and do not normally venture onto the flight deck at all. They tractors move airplanes and helicopters through the hangar, bring them to elevator platforms and then push them from there to the flight deck, where they are taken over by flight deck tractors (such as the A/S32A-31A tractor).

Here are some photographs of the this type of tractor in action: linklinklink.

The A/S32A-32A hangar deck tractor is actually an upgraded version of the SD-2 design that first came to serve with the U.S. Navy in the early 1960s. Key external differences between the original version and the modern one include the towing arm actuators and drives, dashboard and side panels.