Caspian Sea Monster

The Lun-class ekranoplan was a ground effect aircraft designed by Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeev and used by the Soviet and Russian navies from 1987 to sometime in the late 1990s.

It flew using the extra lift generated by the effect of its large wings when close to the surface of the water – about four metres or less. Lun was one of the largest seaplanes ever built, with a length of 73 m, rivalling the Hughes H-4 Hercules (“The Spruce Goose”) and many jumbo jets.

Lun Class Ekranoplan

Lun Class Ekranoplan

Equipped for anti-surface warfare, it carried the P-270 Moskit (Mosquito) guided missile. Six missile launchers were mounted in pairs on the dorsal surface of its fuselage with advanced tracking systems mounted in its nose and tail.

Lun Class Ekranoplan

Lun Class Ekranoplan

The only aircraft of this type ever built, the MD-160, entered service with the Black Sea Fleet in 1987. It became retired in the late 1990s and is now sitting unused at a naval station in Kaspiysk.


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Lun Class Ekranoplan

General characteristics

Crew: 15 (6 officers, 9 enlisted)
Capacity: 137 t (302,000 lb)
Length: 73.8 m (242 ft 2 in)
Wingspan: 44 m (144 ft 4 in)
Height: 19.2 m (63 ft 0 in)
Wing area: 550 m2 (5,900 sq ft)
Empty weight: 286,000 kg (630,522 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 380,000 kg (837,757 lb)
Powerplant: 8 × Kuznetsov NK-87 turbofans, 127.4 kN (28,600 lbf) thrust each

Performance

Maximum speed: 550 km/h (342 mph; 297 kn)
Cruising speed: 450 km/h (280 mph; 243 kn) at 2.5 m (8 ft)
Range: 2,000 km (1,243 mi; 1,080 nmi)
Service ceiling: 7,500 m (24,606 ft) or 5 m (16 ft) in ground effect

Armament

Guns: two 23mm Pl-23 cannon in a twin tail turret and two 23mm Pl-23 cannon in a twin turret under forward missile tubes
Missiles: six launchers for SS-N-22 Sunburn antiship missiles

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