1987 was the year when the first 350 tons ground effect “ship” from the series of Soviet battle missile carriers was produced. It was called Lun after the Russian name for a bird of prey - hen harrier. Another name for this vehicle was Project 903. It carried 6 Moskit cruise missiles (SS-N-22 Sunburn in NATO classification). Hitting four of them causes inevitable sinking of a vessel of any know type and size. The second Lun-class battle aircraft was supposed to be produced in several years but due to the end of cold war and partial disarmament the project was changed to a rescue aircraft and it was never finished.
This type of vehicle called in Russian ekranoplan uses so called ground effect - extra lift of large wings when in proximity to the surface. For this reason they have been designed to travel at a maximum of three meters above the sea but at the same time could provide take off, stable “flight” and safe “landing” in conditions of up to 5-meter waves. These crafts were originally developed by the Soviet Union as high-speed military transports, and were based mostly on the shores of the Caspian Sea and Black Sea. In 2005 crafts of this type have been classified by the International Marine Organization so they probably should be considered flying ships rather than swimming planes. It is also interesting to note that this aircraft is one of the largest ever built, with a length of 73,8 meters (comparing with 73 of Airbus A380).
Lun doesn‘t have a landing gear, only a huge hydroski so there’s no way for it to get on land and for this reason a special floating dry dock was designed for it.
This hybrid vehicle is driven by 8 turbojet engines.
Functionally the body of this strange ship was divided into 4 parts: fore, middle, after-part and keel together with stabilizer. Fore part possesses pilot house and a pillar holding 8 main engines, as well as a room with secondary ones. Middle and after parts were fully equipped with test facilities but still have also a caboose and a toilet. The whole keel is filled with power installation for electricity supply during mooring and a complex of radio navigation and communication equipment. A room for a gunner is placed in a cross-line of keel and stabilizer at a height of 12 meters over the waterline.
The ecranoplan’s crew consisted of 7 officers and 4 warrant officers. It could be absolutely autonomous for 5 days.
Don’t miss the 2nd and 3rd pages of photos. There are plenty of them.
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