Lun-class ekranoplan

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Coordinates: 42°52′53″N 47°39′22″E / 42.8815°N 47.6560°E / 42.8815; 47.6560

Lun Ekranoplan.jpg
MD-160, the sole completed Lun-class ekranoplan
Class overview
Name: Lun
In service: 1987–late 1990s
Planned: 2
Building: 0
Completed: 1
Cancelled: 1
Active: 0
Lost: 0
Retired: 1
Preserved: 1
General characteristics
Class and type: Lun
Type: Attack/Transport ground effect vehicle
Displacement: Displacement n/a, weight 286 tonnes unloaded
Length: 73.8 metres (242 ft)
Beam: (Wingspan) 44 metres (144 ft)
Height: 19.2 metres (63 ft)
Draught: (2.5 metres or 8 feet 2 inches)
Propulsion:Kuznetsov NK-87 turbojet engines, 127.4 kN (28,600 lbf) thrust
Speed: 297 kn (550 km/h; 342 mph)
Range: 1,000 nmi (1,900 km; 1,200 mi)
Capacity: 100 tonnes (220,000 pounds)
Complement: six officers and nine enlisted men
Sensors and
processing systems:
Puluchas search radar

The Lun-class ekranoplan is a ground effect vehicle (GEV) designed by Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeyev in 1975 and used by the Soviet and Russian navies from 1987 until sometime in the late 1990s.[1][2]

It flew using the lift generated by the ground effect of its large wings when within about four metres (13 ft) above the surface of the water. Although they might look similar to regular aircraft, and have related technical characteristics, ekranoplans like the Lun are not aircraft, seaplanes, hovercraft, nor hydrofoils. Rather, "ground effect" is a distinct technology. The International Maritime Organization classifies these vehicles as maritime ships.[3]

The name Lun comes from the Russian word for harrier.[4]

Design and development[edit]

The Caspian Sea Monster at Kaspiysk photographed with a KH-8 reconnaissance satellite in 1984. It remained the heaviest aircraft in the world throughout its 15-year service life, and served as the basis for Lun's development. Unlike the Lun, the KM featured a constant-chord main wing and a stabilizer with notable dihedral (visible in the image as a difference in brightness between the left and right side of the stabilizer) and an unswept aft trailing edge.
Lun-class at Kaspiysk, Russia, in 2010

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.[4] It had a maximum cruising speed of 550 kilometres per hour (340 mph).[2]

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.[5]

The only model of this class ever built, the MD-160, entered service with the Black Sea Fleet in 1987. It was retired in the late 1990s and sat unused at a naval station in Kaspiysk[2][6][7] until 2020.[8]

Another version of Lun was planned for use as a mobile field hospital for rapid deployment to any ocean or coastal location. It was named the Spasatel ("Rescuer"). Work was about 90% done, when the military funding ended, and it was never completed.[3][9]

On 31 July 2020, the only completed MD-160 Lun class ekranoplan was towed from Kaspiysk naval base to Derbent, Dagestan. It will be put on display at the (future) Patriot Park.[8]

Artist's concept of a Lun-class ekranoplan in flight


 Soviet Union


Data from [10]

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


  • Maximum speed: 550 km/h (340 mph, 300 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 450 km/h (280 mph, 240 kn) at 2.5 m (8 ft)
  • Range: 2,000 km (1,200 mi, 1,100 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 5 m (16 ft) in ground effect


Related development[edit]


  1. ^ Shukla, Vikas (2015-09-09). "Russia Revives Its Soviet-Era Ekranoplan Project". ValueWalk. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Johnson, Robert; Rosen, Armin. "Here's The Astonishing Hovercraft That The Soviets Could Have Used To Invade Western Europe In The 80s". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b Liang Yun; Alan Bliault; Johnny Doo (3 December 2009). WIG Craft and Ekranoplan: Ground Effect Craft Technology. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 436–. ISBN 978-1-4419-0042-5.
  4. ^ a b Flying Magazine. July 1994. pp. 72–. ISSN 0015-4806.
  5. ^ Ashley Hollebone (31 March 2012). The Hovercraft Story. History Press Limited. pp. 33–. ISBN 978-0-7524-8512-6.
  6. ^ Bogodvid, Maksim (27 January 2012). "Russia Revives Production of Flarecraft". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  7. ^ Norman Ferguson (1 April 2013). The Little Book of Aviation. History Press Limited. pp. 102–. ISBN 978-0-7524-9285-8.
  8. ^ a b Cenciotti, David (10 August 2020). "Take A Look At These Incredible Shots Of The Russia's Sole Completed Lun-Class Ekranoplan". The Aviationist. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  9. ^ Fast Ferry International. High-Speed Surface Craft Limited. 2003.
  10. ^ van Optal, Edwin. "Lun". Netherlands: The WIG Page. pp. The WIG Page Datasheet no. 26. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.

External links[edit]