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Take A Look Inside The Soviet Union's Gigantic Nuclear Equipped Ekranoplane
Business Insider ^ | January 27,2012 | Robert Johnson

Posted on 01/27/2012 7:51:43 AM PST by Hojczyk

In the thick of the Cold War, the Soviet Union built an immense vessel to carry their troops across the seas and into Western Europe.

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 the length of the wings.

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.

Check out pictures and facts on the Soviet's secret weapon >

(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; Russia
KEYWORDS: aircraft; aviation; coldwar; nuclear; nuclearairplane; nuke; russia; science
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1 posted on 01/27/2012 7:51:48 AM PST by Hojczyk
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To: Hojczyk

Looks like something out of a Hollywood movie.................

2 posted on 01/27/2012 7:57:59 AM PST by Red Badger (If you are unemployed long enough, you are no longer unemployed.)
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To: Hojczyk

That is the coolest #$%&ing plane I’ve ever seen!


3 posted on 01/27/2012 7:59:54 AM PST by Thorliveshere
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To: Hojczyk

Russian engineers have always thought outside the box. Remarkable.


4 posted on 01/27/2012 8:04:34 AM PST by montag813
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To: Thorliveshere

It is more a boat than a plane. Actually an interesting technology to haul stuff over water. It is not exactly as fast as jet aircraft and doesn’t have exactly as much payload as cargo boat but it is too much faster than any boat and has too much more payload than any aircraft.


5 posted on 01/27/2012 8:08:40 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: Hojczyk
Details behind the science of how it works HERE
6 posted on 01/27/2012 8:10:19 AM PST by montag813
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To: montag813

You are correct, the Russians were never bound by convention. Think of the Tu-144, a concorde copy, except they had the engines side by side and faired into the fuse, as opposed to under each wing as the SST had. Obviously this led to seriously stability and vibration issues culminating in a crash at the Paris Air Show in ‘73?’74?
It was used prinarily for the Moscow-Alma Aty run, which was done in just over three teeth rattling hours. Strange, but they were strange, but nothing was as it seemed in the Soviet Union..


7 posted on 01/27/2012 8:11:20 AM PST by cardinal4 (Bolton/Arpaio 2012 "Kick the UN across the border!")
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To: Hojczyk

That that is a plane built to put the fear of Ivan in you.


8 posted on 01/27/2012 8:12:38 AM PST by VanDeKoik
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To: cunning_fish

Okay, I see. That makes sense with its configuration. Still love it, though!


9 posted on 01/27/2012 8:13:33 AM PST by Thorliveshere
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To: Red Badger

I designed something similar to this when I was eight years old.


10 posted on 01/27/2012 8:14:43 AM PST by Yogafist
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To: Yogafist

11 posted on 01/27/2012 8:16:24 AM PST by Red Badger (If you are unemployed long enough, you are no longer unemployed.)
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To: Hojczyk

Looks economical to operate... </sarc>


12 posted on 01/27/2012 8:16:30 AM PST by dinodino (MRS. Dinodino)
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To: VanDeKoik

When the Russians build them they are either very good or deadly to everyone involved.
Russian subs are very tough but they throw safety standards out the window and sometimes they take a dive and never come up.
Thier rocket program was the gold standard but they lost quite a few comsonauts and had some really large explosions.
Just because something is unique doesnt make it useful.


13 posted on 01/27/2012 8:18:12 AM PST by Yorlik803 (better to die on your feet than live on your knees.)
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To: dinodino

Yeah but it probably gets better gas mileage than my Jeep.


14 posted on 01/27/2012 8:18:55 AM PST by AppyPappy (If you really want to annoy someone, point out something obvious that they are trying hard to ignore)
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To: Hojczyk
This thing was often referred to as the Caspian Sea Monster. The CIA saw it on recon photos but couldn't figure out what the heck it was.

15 posted on 01/27/2012 8:21:47 AM PST by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: Hojczyk

16 posted on 01/27/2012 8:32:23 AM PST by Sudetenland (Anybody but Obama!!!!)
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To: GonzoGOP

Looks like it would only operate in calm seas, though.


17 posted on 01/27/2012 8:32:57 AM PST by shorty_harris
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To: Red Badger
We were working on a nuclear powered airplane back in the 50s.

Here is a test aircraft that carried a reactor (not to power the plane, but to test the reactor while airborne) I had a boss who worked in radiation safety (health physics) for the project. He was involved in material tests that were carried out in Georgia. It was interesting talking to Bob Boyd about how the radiation would kill the tops of trees that were higher than the shield mounds around the radiation source they used to test aircraft parts. Here is a link about the US nuclear airplane project. Nuclear aircraft

18 posted on 01/27/2012 8:33:20 AM PST by FreeAtlanta (Liberty and Justice for ALL)
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To: Yorlik803

>>>>>>>>>>>>>When the Russians build them they are either very good or deadly to everyone involved.
Russian subs are very tough but they throw safety standards out the window and sometimes they take a dive and never come up.
Thier rocket program was the gold standard but they lost quite a few comsonauts and had some really large explosions.
Just because something is unique doesnt make it useful.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

As for their manned space program they lost much less crewmen comparing to NASA. Not to mention Russian space program was much more expensive. In reality, based on per mission ratio Russian cosmonaut has some 50 times more chance to survive his flight vs US counterpart.

Anyway, overall Russian safety standards are pretty inferior. It starts with a way of driving vehicles and muzzle awareness by teenage students up to operating nuclear subs and supersonic aircraft by trained professionals.

Just for example Germany loosing a couple dozen people annually drowning in rivers and lakes while Russia loosing several thousand who dies this way.


19 posted on 01/27/2012 8:34:14 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: Yorlik803

expensive=extensive


20 posted on 01/27/2012 8:37:03 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: Yorlik803

In 1961, at Baikonur(sp?), a manned rocket began the launch sequence. It was a three stage launch system, and when the count hit zero, the main engines failed to fire. Perplexed, engineers cautiously approached the rocket after verifying the the connections were correct, but knowing that the second stage seperation sequence had continued unimpeded.The seperation engines fired on the pad in a spectacular explosion killing hundreds of folks in an around the cosmodrome.

Around 1967, an incident in the Soviet Union would have a direct impact on our program occured when a young cosmonaut was brought to a hospital with horrific burns over 90% of his body. He had been training in a O2 saturated environment and was using a hot plate in there. It ignited some cotton on the cosmonauts clothes, literally lighting the air on fire. Had the Russians bothered to share this hard won info, we could saved Grissom and his crew..

And then there was the woman cosmonaut’s voice heard in the blind on shortwave as she burned up on on re-entry..


21 posted on 01/27/2012 8:38:04 AM PST by cardinal4 (Bolton/Arpaio 2012 "Kick the UN across the border!")
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To: cunning_fish
they lost much less crewmen comparing to NASA

How do you know? Because the lying communist told us?

22 posted on 01/27/2012 8:39:17 AM PST by FreeAtlanta (Liberty and Justice for ALL)
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To: Red Badger
That's almost Steampunkish...


23 posted on 01/27/2012 8:39:28 AM PST by Dead Corpse (Steampunk- Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today)
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To: Hojczyk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0y9UHyOhbo


24 posted on 01/27/2012 8:43:44 AM PST by FreedomProtector
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To: Dead Corpse

25 posted on 01/27/2012 8:43:56 AM PST by FreeAtlanta (Liberty and Justice for ALL)
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To: FreeAtlanta

26 posted on 01/27/2012 8:46:42 AM PST by Dead Corpse (Steampunk- Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today)
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More Soviet space disasters here..

27 posted on 01/27/2012 8:47:10 AM PST by cardinal4 (Bolton/Arpaio 2012 "Kick the UN across the border!")
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More Soviet space disasters here..

28 posted on 01/27/2012 8:47:23 AM PST by cardinal4 (Bolton/Arpaio 2012 "Kick the UN across the border!")
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To: FreeAtlanta

I have heard that the interesting thing about those reactors designed for the nuclear aircraft was that they had a positive alpha (i.e., positive reactivity feedback for increasing reactor power). You couldn’t license one of those today (for good reason). The other was that the final design had so much shielding there was much space of lift capacity left for cargo. Not terribly practical on balance.


29 posted on 01/27/2012 8:52:31 AM PST by chimera
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To: Hojczyk

This reminds me of the nuclear hand grenade. A Legion of Merit medal is tied to the pin.


30 posted on 01/27/2012 8:56:18 AM PST by tumblindice
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To: cunning_fish

I respectfully disagree. I would wager there are still at least 3 or 4 manned vehicles in orbit with dead cosmonauts in them. Then there are those who slammed into the ground at terminal velocity (over 500mph. Inexplicably, the sovs preferred land retreival as opposed to water).Coupled with O2 disasters, launch pad explosions and failing to achieve orbit, the Soviets have our NASA dead 3-1.
In 1968, an unmanned vehicle misfired and landed in China. The scientifically primitive chinese were appalled by the use of torsion springs, pulleys and other primitive engineering in the capsule. It is in the Red Army museum somewhere in China..


31 posted on 01/27/2012 8:56:18 AM PST by cardinal4 (Bolton/Arpaio 2012 "Kick the UN across the border!")
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To: cardinal4

Yeap. Space flight is dangerous, but it is a testament to our value of life and our free and open press (before they sold their soles to the communists) that we didn’t have more fatalities.

The Russians and Chinese have done some really dirty things and have really disregarded their citizens in order to make military advances.

I hope we never get as bad as the communist.


32 posted on 01/27/2012 8:59:36 AM PST by FreeAtlanta (Liberty and Justice for ALL)
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To: FreeAtlanta

From your lips to God’s ears..


33 posted on 01/27/2012 9:02:49 AM PST by cardinal4 (Bolton/Arpaio 2012 "Kick the UN across the border!")
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To: Hojczyk

Another marvelous & promising technology, relegated to the dustbin of history because it was featured on the cover of Popular Mechanics.


34 posted on 01/27/2012 9:03:32 AM PST by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: tumblindice

Actually, look up the US Davy Crockett nuclear mortar. It had something like a 1 mile range and a 2 mile blast radius.


35 posted on 01/27/2012 9:04:57 AM PST by catman67
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To: cardinal4
Had the Russians bothered to share this hard won info,...

It's been known since long before the space programs that things burn quite well in a high-oxygen atmosphere.

36 posted on 01/27/2012 9:06:37 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: chimera

There was a huge battle between Admiral Rickover and General LeMay over who would control and deliver our nuclear arsenal.

The Nuclear Subs with their missiles basically killed off the research into the nuclear airplane... not that sinking that crazy idea was a bad thing.

I didn’t know the Russian’s had that thing that started this thread. I would love for Mr. Boyd to know about it.


37 posted on 01/27/2012 9:07:21 AM PST by FreeAtlanta (Liberty and Justice for ALL)
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To: catman67
It had something like a 1 mile range and a 2 mile blast radius. Suicide weapon and last resort. They chose a good name for it considering how Davy departed life.

38 posted on 01/27/2012 9:10:41 AM PST by FreeAtlanta (Liberty and Justice for ALL)
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To: DuncanWaring

Hmm. Then Grissom was just an anomaly?


39 posted on 01/27/2012 9:11:34 AM PST by cardinal4 (Bolton/Arpaio 2012 "Kick the UN across the border!")
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To: cardinal4

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I respectfully disagree. I would wager there are still at least 3 or 4 manned vehicles in orbit with dead cosmonauts in them. Then there are those who slammed into the ground at terminal velocity (over 500mph. Inexplicably, the sovs preferred land retreival as opposed to water).
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Well, you may be right. But until there are credible evidence behind it is all urban myths to me, sorry.


40 posted on 01/27/2012 9:13:19 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: FreeAtlanta

Operation TIMBERWOLF ?..............


41 posted on 01/27/2012 9:16:47 AM PST by Red Badger (If you are unemployed long enough, you are no longer unemployed.)
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To: Hojczyk

Couple of things:

In regard to the Lun...there is some footage of the thing actually flying and firing its rockets. If you do a YouTube search for ‘Lun-class”, you’ll find it. It’s from a Russian documentary of the ekranoplanes, and the narration is in Russian. However, if you click through, you’ll recognize the Lun.

Second, in regard to the nuclear airplane concept...the Air Force finally deemed the concept as too expensive to make both safe and workable. However, they had thought of “Project Pluto”. It was a nuclear-powered cruise missile/unmanned bomber that, once it’s nuclear engine was turned on, would go blasting at supersonic speeds (likely Mach 3) and low altitude towards several targets in the Soviet Union. It would’ve carried multiple nukes onboard, dropping them on several targets before self-destructing over the last target.
Not only that, but the shock wave from flying at Mach 3 so low to the ground would have caused serious damage along its flight path...and the exhaust was also going to leave a pretty nasty radioactive trail.

They dropped the idea when intercontinental ballistic missiles proved to be easier to design and build then previously thought.

I imagine it as what I call a “middle-finger” type of weapon...where you not only destroy cities but screw up the environment of your enemy for decades to come.


42 posted on 01/27/2012 9:32:14 AM PST by hoagy62 ("Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered..."-Thomas Paine. 1776)
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To: Hojczyk
Video of it in action -- including firing missiles while at speed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0y9UHyOhbo

There appears to be several more similar videos available via the "sidebar" at that same URL...

43 posted on 01/27/2012 9:33:38 AM PST by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: cunning_fish

NASA only had three fatal accidents. Two were shuttles and one Apollo. Of course the shuttles carried more people than Russian spacecraft so the body count would be higher.
Russians seem to have a fatalistic view of life. They do things that are either dangerious or stupid. Like a whole country of drunk rednecks .


44 posted on 01/27/2012 9:52:46 AM PST by Yorlik803 (better to die on your feet than live on your knees.)
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To: cardinal4
Then Grissom was just an anomaly?

What's that got to do with the fact that it was known well before the untimely demise of the Apollo 1 crew that combustion occurs more rapidly in a 100% oxygen environment, even without the Russians?

45 posted on 01/27/2012 10:34:20 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Hojczyk
Man. The shoddy, crooked welds and overall design just scream Soviet Union. From the look of the pics, more time was spent drinking Vodka than designing and constructing a decent plane.


46 posted on 01/27/2012 10:37:35 AM PST by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: cardinal4
Then Grissom was just an anomaly?

What's that got to do with the fact that it was known well before the untimely demise of the Apollo 1 crew that combustion occurs more rapidly in a 100% oxygen environment, even without the Russians?

47 posted on 01/27/2012 10:40:45 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Yorlik803

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Russians seem to have a fatalistic view of life. They do things that are either dangerious or stupid. Like a whole country of drunk rednecks .
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbgyy04_OV0

OMG INSANE Russian teens #### off the top of some tall tower

:)


48 posted on 01/27/2012 11:05:23 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: tumblindice

So what! The medal would get vaporized.


49 posted on 01/27/2012 11:43:30 AM PST by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class!)
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To: Hojczyk

We should license the design. Imagine a car ferry that could go from Chicago to Traverse City in one hour.


50 posted on 01/27/2012 11:48:56 AM PST by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class!)
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