Russian Navy – Ekranoplans

Russian Ekranoplans (Ground Effect Vehicles)

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Ekrano-what?! This unusual vehicle type are all developments of the original and giant KM “Caspian Sea Monster,” which was damaged and allowed to sink in 1980. One of the more unusual captures, these “daughters of the Caspian Sea Monster” are large ground-effect aircraft that are classified a ship by the International Maritime Organization, and were under Soviet and then Russian naval control. These two related types of ekranoplans were designed to fly just above the surface.

A-90 Orlyonok (1972 – 1993) (also described as Orlan class / Project 904) 5 built 1 preserved Moscow Naval Museum LOA 191′

Artist’s conception of an Orlan Class Ekranoplan, ca 1986 NARA: 330-CFD-DD-ST-86-06692 (unidentified artist)
A-90 Orlyonok plans credit: Kaboldy CC BY-SA 3.0

MDE-160 (1983 – 2006) preserved at Moscow Naval Museum. Transported in 2007 from Kaspiysk to Moscow along Volga River.

Orlyonok EkranoplanOrlyonok Ekranoplan Kaspiysk2005

Lun Class (1987 – late 1990s) LOA 242′ weight 286 tons empty. Powered by 8 turbo-jet engines, 4 on either side of the cockpit, this would have been armed with a complement of 6 moskit anti-ship missiles, in fixed tubes in pairs along the top of the fuselage.

MD-160 (1987-late 1990s) Laid up in Kaspiysk, Republic of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea for a very long time. In Aug. 2020 this apparently intact ekranoplan was moved about 110 km South along the Caspian coast to Derbent, Dagestan, where it appears to be beached about 6 km south of the city along the coast. It is intended to be displayed in a patriotic park in the city.

Artist’s conception of an ekranoplan, which closely resembles the Lun-class, ca. 1988 NARA: 330-CFD-DD-ST-88-09484 (unidentified artist)

Ekranoplan Dagestan 2019

Sentinel-2 L1C image on 2020-08-31
This sentinel image from 2020/08/31 shows the distinctive shape of the ekranoplan beached at center, 6 km south of Derbent, Republic of Dagestan. It had been moved there from Kaspiysk earlier in the month.