Skip to comments.The Nuclear Warhead-Equipped Ekranoplan Soviet Invasion Machine [Video at link]
Posted on 03/10/2010 9:43:22 PM PST by James C. Bennett
Powered by 228,800 Lb-Ft of thrust, this Lun-class Ekranoplan was designed to carry two-million pounds of Europe-invading soldiers and vehicles and six nuclear missiles at speeds up to 340 MPH. Thank God Reagan defeated the Soviet Union.
Not exactly. It’s a surface-effect vehicle; it rides on a cushion of air trapped underneath its wing. As I understand it, this sort of thing cannot fly higher than about half its wingspan or so.
Innovative but impractical, the Ekranoplan never became operational. For a time during the Cold War though, it had US analysts wondering what the Russians were up to with their mysterious “Caspian Sea Monster.”
The question I always had with the Ekranoplan and other large displacement Wing In Ground (WIG) vessels is how would you deploy them.
1. Amphibious assault.
You could use the Ekranoplan for an amphibious coup de main, it can rapidly transport men and material. But there are some very serious limitations. It can not transport the assault force beyond the beach. And while disembarking, it is immobile and a huge target. Plus unlike ship it has a very limited range.
The Ekranoplan was equipped to attack ships, primarily a US task force operating in restricted waters, like the Mediterranean. Though it is very very fast, it is in no way stealthy, nor can it maneuver or disengage like an aircraft. It would be very vulnerable to missiles or air attacks.
With it rapid speed and large payload the Ekranoplan could have been used for ASW work, but it lacked the range and loitering ability of more traditional ASW aircraft and as mentioned above it is highly vulnerable to missile and air attacks.
Finally, the Ekranoplan can only travel 10 to 12 feet above the water surface. Not high enough to avoid sea conditions. And its handling characteristics are terrible.
It was only built because it was a pet project of Khrushev and once he was gone, development pretty much ceased.
Here’s a great article on the development history of the Ekranoplan.
I read about those things back during my Navy time. Interesting. I remember thinking they would be great as ferries in civilian use.
Howard Hughes & the Spruce Goose. It is popular history that the aircraft got airborne by accident. My gut says that he purposely got it up in the air that one time to save his and his corporations a**. He never got it out of ground effect.
The thing was way underpowered, with a full load on it it would have never gotten out of the water.
They would have lost all of them. This thing looks to be in the same category as the flying aircraft carrier designed in WWII, a whole package of absurdities.
LOL! Too cool!
They are also know as ground effect vehicles (GEVs) because they fly in the ground effect which makes the wing extremely efficient.