One Of World's Most Unusual Planes Bigger Than Boeing 747 Is Abandoned On Beach

By Haider Ali in History On 8th July 2024

The Caspian Sea Monster, a dormant 283-tonne, 63-foot aircraft that is larger than a Boeing 747, is located off the shore of Derbent, a city in southern Russia.

The Lun-class ekranoplan, designed in 1975 with six fixed-elevation anti-ship missile launchers and two twin turrets, was put into action by the Soviet and Russian navies 12 years later as the Cold War was coming to a close.

It terrified the enemy with its formidable armament and unique operational capabilities.

It was constructed over years as part of the Soviet Union's Wing-in-Ground Effect (WIG) program. 

The 283 tonne maritime ship looks like it has been lifted from Star Wars. Getty Images

Its appearance suggested it was plucked from a Star Wars scenario and stationed on the shore of the landlocked Caspian Sea, often called the world's largest lake.

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Luckily for the people living in the little village of Samurçay, which is located 21 miles distant in Azerbaijan near the Russian border, the heavily armed boat has been preserved and turned into a museum.

This transformation allows visitors to explore its history and significance firsthand.

 

The enormous object that we have been referring to as a plane actually fits under the category of "ground effect," which makes it a ship—not a spaceship, but a boat.

Ekranoplanes, such as the Lun, are not aircrafts, although they resemble them remarkably. Nor are they hovercrafts.

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The incredible ship's eight jet engines allowed it to miraculously float above the sea when it was retired in the late 1990s, a few years after the end of the Cold War.

When it was within approximately 13 feet over the water's surface, it used a cushion of air beneath its huge wings that was created by the ground effect acting on them.

In actuality, the MD-160 is categorized as a marine ship by the International marine Organization, which is a big ship that sails the world's oceans.

It glided only thirteen feet over the sea, making it very difficult, if not impossible, to detect on radars.

The lun-class ekranoplan has been turned into a museum. Getty Images

Regarding the program and calling the ship "Utka," which translates to "duck" in Russian, CIA representatives further said: "The Utka class WIG is a tactical strike and coastal defence vehicle for the Soviet Navy. It carries six supersonic SS-N-22 anti-ship cruise missiles."

"The Utka, can engage enemy ships out to its radar horizon (about 35 kilometers/22 miles) but can fire the SS-N-22 out to the missile's 100-kilometer (62-mile) range with over-the-horizon targeting data."

"The Utka is larger than a US Boeing 747 jet airplane and flies at about 250 knots [287 mph]. One Utka has been built."

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They added: "We believe that an Utka strike force or coastal defense force would give the Soviets a quick-reaction capability against surface combatants."

"However, unless the Utka can pop up out of ground effect to extend its radar horizon, it will require external sources of targeting information."