The National Interest published an article about the Soviet aviation project “Link,” which allowed fighters to carry heavier weapons with the help of bombers.
The author of the publication, Sebastian Roblin, clarified that the project was developed by Soviet engineer Vladimir Vakhmistrov in the 30s-40s of the last century. According to the idea, the fighters were launched from the wings of bombers, which increased their carrying capacity and flight range. Also, the fighters could protect the bombers and turn on their own engines to accelerate the flight of the transport aircraft.
This idea appeared before the decision came to a more expensive refueling in the air, Roblin noted.
He added that this project proved its effectiveness in the first years of the Great Patriotic War.
According to the historian, Vakhmistrov’s project was the first in which one aircraft docked with another, while the United Kingdom and the US Navy tested the docking of “parasite” aircraft with airships “similar to zeppelins.”