Photos Of The Massive Lun-Class Ekranoplan or Flying Ship
In 1987, the very first 350-ton Ground Effect Vehicle (GEV) from the series of Soviet battle missile carriers was created. This massive "ship" was called Lun (also called Project 903), after the Russian bird of prey, harrier.
The Lun-class ekranoplan (reportedly dubbed Duck by NATO) was designed by Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeyev. It was used by both the Soviet and Russian navies from 1987 until the late 1990s. A second Lun-class battle aircraft (named the Spasatel or “Rescuer”) was supposed to be built, but due to the end of Cold War and partial disarmament, a rescue aircraft/mobile field hospital for rapid deployment to any coastal or ocean location was produced instead. It was about 90% done when the military funding was stopped, and so the second Lun ekranoplan was never completed.
The MD-160, the only model of the Lun-class ever produced now sits unused at a naval station in Kaspiysk. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that they have no plans to revive the project.
Here's a closer look at this massive and truly remarkable plane/ship hybrid!
The Lun was originally built by the Soviet Union for high-speed military transports and was mostly based on the shores of the Caspian Sea and Black Sea along with other crafts.
This hybrid vehicle is powered by 8 turbojet engines. With a length of 73.8 meters, it is one of the largest ever built.
In 2005, the International Marine Organization (IMO) classified this type of crafts as flying ships rather than swimming planes.
This is because the Lun-Class Ekranoplan is a GEV which flew using the lift generated by the ground effect of its large wings when close to the water surface - about 4 meters or less.
Lun carried 6 Moskitcruise missiles (SS-N-22 Sunburn in NATO classification).
"Hitting four of them causes inevitable sinking of a vessel of any known type and size."
Lun doesn't come with a landing gear, only a huge hydro-ski, making it impossible for this craft to get on land. For this reason, a special floating dry dock was designed for it.
Its body is divided into four parts: fore, middle, after-part and keel together with stabilizer.
The fore part contains the pilot house and pillar holding 8 main engines. There's also a room for the secondary engines.
The middle and after parts is equipped with test facilities complete with a caboose and a toilet.
The keel is where the power installation for electricity supply is located. There's also a room especially for a gunner placed in a cross-line of keel and stabilizer at a height of 12 meters over the waterline.
The crew of the massive Lun class ekranoplan consist of 7 officers and 4 warrant officers.
Lun could be absolutely autonomous for 5 days.
The aircraft's "eight Kuznetsov NK-87 turbofans, mounted on forwardcanards, each produces 127.4 kN (28,600 lbf) of thrust".
Lun carried the P-270 Moskit guided missile. On the dorsal surface of its fuselage were six missile launchers mounted in pairs. It also comes with advanced tracking systems mounted in its nose and tail.
This "flying ship" had a flying boat hull. A large deflecting plate at the bottom to provide a step for takeoff.
The massive Lun must have been glorious back in the day, but it has long been reduced to a "chunk of aerodynamic scrap metal," unused and abandoned.