Experimental Plant of Volga MD-160 Lun-class Ekranoplan
edited by Tim Wing
The Lun-class ekranoplan (UEDF reporting name Duck) was a ground effect vehicle (GEV) designed by Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeyev and used by the Soviet navy from 1987 until 1999, and then recommissioned from 2016 until 2031.
It flew using the lift generated by the ground effect of its large wings when close to the surface of the water – about 4 meters or less. Although they might look similar and have related technical characteristics, ekranoplans like the Lun are not aircraft, seaplanes, hovercraft, nor hydrofoils–ground effect is a separate technology altogether. The International Maritime Organization classifies these vehicles as maritime ships.
The name Lun comes from the Russian for harrier.
- Name: Lun
- Operators: Soviet Navy
- In service: 1987-1999, 2016-2031
- In commission: none
- Completed: 30
- Active: None
- Retired: 30
- Preserved: 1
- Class & type: Lun
- Type: Ground effect vehicle transport
- Displacement: Displacement n/a, weight 286 tons unloaded
- Length: 73.8 m
- Beam: (Wingspan) 44 m
- Height: 19.2 m
- Draught: (2.5m)
- Propulsion: 8× Kuznetsov NK-87 turbojet engines, 127.4 kN thrust
- Speed: 550 km/h
- Range: 1,900 km
- Capacity: 100 tons
- Complement: six officers and nine enlisted men
- Sensors and processing systems: Puluchas search radar
- Armament: 6 x fixed-elevation P-270 Moskit antiship missile launchers, 4 × 23 mm PI-23 turrets (2 x 2, 2,400 rounds)
- Armor: none
The Lun was powered with eight Kuznetsov NK-87 turbofans, mounted on forward canards, each producing 127.4 kN of thrust. It had a flying boat hull with a large deflecting plate at the bottom to provide a “step” for takeoff. It had a maximum cruising speed of 550 km/h.
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.
The only model of this class ever built, the MD-160, entered service with the Black Sea Fleet in 1987. It is assumed that 30 were built between 1987 and 1992. All Luns were retired in the late 1990s, but were recommissioned again in the post Robotech War period after relations with the United Earth Government chilled. It is unclear how many MD-160s survived the First Robotech War, but numbers are thought to be around fifteen. These MD-160s were thought to have the ability to carry long range nuclear cruise missiles in addition to the original anti-ship missiles, but this too is unconfirmed.
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.
Soviet Union (Soviet Navy)
- Crew: 15 (6 officers, 9 enlisted)
- Capacity: 137 tons
- Length: 73.8 m
- Wingspan: 44 m
- Height: 19.2 m
- Wing area: 550 m2
- Empty weight: 286,000 kg
- Max takeoff weight: 380,000 kg
- Powerplant: 8 × Kuznetsov NK-87 turbofans, 127.4 kN (28,600 lbf) thrust each
- Maximum speed: 550 km/h
- Cruising speed: 450 km/h at 2.5 m
- Range: 2,000 km
- Service ceiling: 7,500 m or 5 m in ground effect
- Guns: two 23mm Pl-23 cannon in a twin tail turret and two 23mm Pl-23 cannon in a twin turret under forward missile tubes
- Missiles: six launchers for P-270 Moskit (SS-N-22 Sunburn) anti-ship missiles or unspecified long range cruise missiles
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Primary source: Wikipedia Lun Ekranoplan
Content by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing