Here’s a rare look at the Lun-class ekranoplan, which is a ground effect vehicle (GEV) designed by Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeyev and used by the Soviet and Russian navies from 1987 until sometime in the late 1990s. It flew using the lift generated by the ground effect of its large wings when they were close to the surface of the water – about 4-meters to be exact. While they might look similar and have related technical characteristics, ekranoplans, such as the Lun, are not aircraft, seaplanes, hovercraft, or hydrofoils – ground effect is a separate technology altogether. Continue reading for a longer video of this craft in-action and more information.
The Lun was powered with eight Kuznetsov NK-87 turbofans, mounted on forward canards, each producing 127.4 kN (28,600 lbf) of thrust. It had a flying boat hull with a large deflecting plate at the bottom to provide a “step” for takeoff. 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.