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|"QUANTUM SHOT" #572|
link - by Avi Abrams
Mother Russia: still in love with the "Wing-in-Ground" effect
When we prepared Part 1 of Ekranoplan Showcase, we could not fit all the great material on one page, so consider this as an addendum to the fascinating subject of Soviet ekranoplans - a beast born during the Cold War and still employed today by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia.
Here is a fantastic picture of how this technology may have looked in a heavily armed edition:
(art by Scott Robertson, via, click to enlarge)
Ekranoplan "Alekseyev A-90 Orlyonok", photo by Ilya Morozov, via
Here is a helpful chart of all ekranoplan models:
(image credit: "Science & Vie")
Incredible futuristic rendering of a proposed passenger and cargo behemoth:
images credit: "TM" magazine, Russia, 1974
"Orlyonok" Ekranoplan - rare view from the inside
This particular machine has been explored by good people from Avia Gorizont, with many views of the cargo bay made for military vehicles. There were sightings of a similar ekranoplan still used on Lake Baykal by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia.
Ekranoplan "Orlyonok" (left) and the "Astrakhan" concept (right), images via
An exclusive look inside this machine shows impressive amount of cargo space and a typical Soviet spartan interior:
(images credit: Avia Gorizont)
Beriev's Wonder Machines: A Heavy Ekranoplan Concept
Be-2500 is a heavy ekranoplan concept that is simply stunning in its design - seemingly random placement of wing surfaces and engines - which looks only as weird as any other model coming out of Beriev Design Bureau.
The "2500" in the model's number refers to aircraft's weight - 2500 tons; it boasts six engines and the ability to cross the Atlantic or the Pacific oceans with a "wing-in-ground" speed of 450 km/h.
I want that for my kid's playground
Also something of a weird number, is the Bartini Beriev, VVA-14, which can be observed in a pretty gutted condition on a Russian airfield in Monino: still a curious sight for photographers and explorers -
(image credit: Omar Alex Saffe)
(image credit: Fyodor Borisov)
(images via 1, 2)
(image credit: Slava Babayevski)
See a lot more images here
VVA-14 used WIG effect only during a take-off, so it is not a true "ekranoplan" but rather an "ekrano-plane". However, it enjoyed a decent production run, and Soviet Army even had certain "glamorous" plans for it: "Such a vehicle was initially seen as urgently needed to destroy US Navy Polaris missile submarines" - more info.
Ekranoplan + Shuttle
These concepts were created in hopes to use the Earth's oceans for space launches: keep in mind that launching close to equator allows for 1.7 - 2 times heavier payload. The Sea-Launch project is already in full swing (facilitating vertical launches), however for the Shuttle-like horizontal launches and landings, Russian engineers propose to use a fleet of heavy ekranoplans:
(image by G. F. Petrov, click to enlarge)
More glimpses of launching system concepts - some are outrageous, all interesting:
Winged "WIG" Curiosities
Some variations on "wing-in-ground" effect sometimes led to curious contraptions... Check out this "water wing": looks like a bumpy ride -
(image credit: ModernMechanix)
Another interesting streamlined variation is the Seagull Boat, 1933:
(image credit: ModernMechanix)
Compact ekranoplans: among them is a German-made 1977 LippischX-114:
Yet another futuristic idea - the Ionocraft
Granted, this method of flying has little relation to WIG effect used by ekranoplans, but perhaps it is just as fascinating and just as rarely considered today. One concept proposed by Russians (and seen here in a rare picture from "TM" Soviet technology magazine) would use ionic air propulsion to lift itself and a significant payload off the ground.
image via TM Magazine, 1965
This is a strange way to fly, for sure, using high-voltage capacitors and the Biefeld-Brown Effect in the corona wire. Who knows, maybe we'll see the development of such a craft in the future (although it does seem like a hazardous structure in the concept shown above)
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