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Seen this – the Soviet Ekranoplan

Brad Smithfield

Lun, one of the largest ekranoplan ever built, measured 73.8 meters in length; this is slightly longer than an Airbus A380 at 73 meters long. There was some nice computer wizardry that a graphic designer used to make a ‘model’ of a mighty Lun aircraft carrier but back in the real world – the Ekranoplan looks like this.

Originally, the Lun craft was developed as a high-speed transport for the military. They used ground effect which made them achieve a lift when their wings got in close proximity to the surface.

The Lun was mostly based in the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, and would travel at a maximum height of three meters over the sea but could go higher in case of there being high wave conditions to provide safety to the craft. In 2005, the International Marine Organization classified the ekranoplan as a flying ship.

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Lun, powered by eight turbojet engines, has a huge hydro-ski without a landing gear making it impossible to get on land. It instead has a dry dock that was specially designed for it. All images English Russia.

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The body of this bizarre ship is functionally divided into four parts namely:

i. Fore part – houses the pilot and a pillar that holds the eight main engines and a room that has other secondary engines.
ii. Middle part – houses the caboose
iii. Back part – contains the toilet
iv. Keel – has the power installation for electricity supply and a complex of radio navigation and communication gadgets.

The gunner is housed in a cross line of keel and stabilizer at about 12 meters above the waterline. Seven officers and four warrant officers made up the crew, and the vehicle could go for five days without any supplies. Don’t miss the 2nd and 3rd pages of photos. There are plenty of them!

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he eight Kuznetsov (model NK-87), each with a power thrust of 127.4 KN, were mounted on forward canards and powered the Lun. A flying boat hull containing a large deflecting plate was placed at the bottom to give a kick-start for takeoff.

The Lun was equipped for counter-surface warfare and carried six guided missiles launchers loaded with P-270 Moskit (Mosquito) missiles and mounted in pairs at the rear surface of its fuselage. The advanced tracking systems were mounted on the nose and tail.

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