Lun-class ekranoplan

The Lun-class (Russian: "Hen Harrier") (NATO reporting name: "Utka"; Russian: "Duck") ekranoplan Wing-In-Ground effect vehicle was an extremely unusual aircraft designed by Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeev and used by the Soviet & Russian navies from 1987 to sometime in the late '90s. Wing-in-ground-effect aircraft use the extra lift of their large wings when in proximity to the surface (about one to four meters). It is also interesting to note that this aircraft is one of the largest ever built, with a length of 73m, rivaling that of the Hughes H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" and many modern jumbo jets.

The sole vessel of her class, MD-160 entered service with the Black Sea Fleet 1987. Eight Kuznetsov NK-87 turbojets were mounted on forward-located canards, each delivering 127.4 kN (28,600 lbf) of thrust. MD-160 had a flying boat-like hull with a large deflecting plate at the bottom of the hull to provide a "step" for takeoff.

The aircraft was equipped for anti-submarine warfare. It was therefore fitted with six missile launchers, mounted in pairs on the dorsal surface of the fuselage, and advanced tracking systems mounted in the nose and tail. A development of the Lun was planned for use as a mobile field hospital, one which could be rapidly deployed to any ocean or coastal location. Work was begun on this model, the Spasatel, but budget cutbacks mean that it has never been completed.


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