The spectacular shot obtained by the drone camera shows this amazing hybrid of ship and airplane, known as ekranoplane, on a sandy beach. The ‘Caspian monster’, as US intelligence dubbed it, was designed to shoot Moskit anti-ship missiles against enemy ships and aircraft carriers.
This summer, the ship was transported to Derbent from the naval base in Kaspisk, a city about 100 kilometers away, to be exhibited at the Patriot military theme park, which will open its doors in two years. During its towing, the Lun was damaged, so for the past few months it has remained on the Caspian coast, OTR reported.
The ship was repaired, but now the engineers are faced with another difficult task: moving it to a special podium 150 meters from the coast. To do this, workers are placing bulky inflatable structures under the fuselage and wings to prevent the aluminum hull from being damaged.
What is an ekranoplane?
Due to their wings and engines, the ekranoplanes look like an aircraft, although according to the classification of the International Maritime Organization of the UN, they are actually sea vessels that move much faster than any other vessel, whose maximum speed rarely exceeds 55 kilometers per hour.
The USSR built its first ekranoplane in the 1960s. Confused by its unusual design, Western intelligence services dubbed it ‘the monster of the Caspian Sea’. With its 544 tons of weight, the ship – which measured 106 meters in length and 42 meters in width – exceeded 400 kilometers per hour.
These incredible vehicles use the so-called ‘ground effect’ that allows them to carry a payload equal to their weight a few meters from the sea surface and at high speeds.
Although its development began in parallel in the 1950s in the USA, Germany, and the Soviet Union, American and German ships were smaller in size and were used mainly for passenger transport.
The Lun-class military ekranoplane was in service in the USSR and Russia until the program was discontinued shortly before the end of the 20th century due to a lack of funds. Since then, it was in a warehouse in Kaspisk until the Russian Army decided to display it publicly in the future Patriot military park.