Photo: Igor 113
The Lun-class Soviet Ekranoplane was a marvel of late 20th century technological prowess and the Soviets’ considered it an integral part of their colossal military machine.I stumbled upon these pictures back in January when aviation blogger Igor113 posted them to Live Journal, but thought they deserved to be looked at again.
Maybe it was joining the Navy on an amphibious assault craft in May, or pondering the naval developments in the Persian Gulf for most of today, but something about this vessel implies the past is just a step away and maybe serves as a reminder to not take too much, too seriously.
I like it and this is what I wrote about it early this year: Equipped with nuclear warheads and able to blast across the sea at 340 mph, the Lun-class Ekranoplane; part plane, part boat, and part hovercraft — is a Ground Effect Vehicle (GEV).
A GEV takes advantage of an aeronautical effect that allows it to lift off with an immense amount of weight, but limits its flight to 16 feet above the waves. Its altitude can never be greater than its wingspan.
Think of a large seabird, like a pelican, cruising inches from the water and not needing to flap its wings.
The only complete Ekranoplane now sits on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
While there is talk of refitting the Lun-class and getting the GEV back in the fleet, it’s now rusting away, and was spotted by aviation blogger Igor113 who posted these pictures to his blog.
Nearly 243 feet long, almost as big as the Spruce Goose, the Lun is a ground effect aircraft that can only fly near the surface of the sea
It was built for anti-surface warfare in case of a European invasion or an unexpected attack from NATO forces
In 2007, the Russian defence Minister announced the country would resume production of this model Ekranoplane
This Soviet version Ground Effect Vehicle is the first to use turbojet power and the first to be operated successfully
The Lun can carry 15 officers, flying 340 mph about 1,240 miles, but only ever reach an altitude of 16ft
The effect that allows the huge Ekranoplane to skim the surface of the water can be seen in low flying seabirds that glide above the sea without needing to flap their wings
Two-million pounds of Soviet might barreling around at 340 mph.
There was also an anti-submarine variant fitted with six anti-ship missile launchers across the top of the fuselage
The Ekranoplane can carry hundreds of tons of cargo and troops, allowing for a potential European invasion
Developed in the early 1970s and constructed between 1983 and 1987 the Lun operated in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean before being spotted by NATO spyplanes
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