Explorer Visits Abandoned and World’s Largest Ekranoplan, Here Are Some Great Pictures of The Inside and Outside
Many people have seen the ekranoplan from outside but few have had a chance to get inside. This vehicle is something in between an aircraft and a ship. “Lun” is the world biggest ground effect vehicle designed in the USSR in late 70s. Now the ekranoplan as big as a five-storey building is in Derbent, it has been preserved as a museum exhibit.
Yuri Urykov, who shared these photos, says he had a real technical ecstasy when he got inside the vehicle. “It has not been used for 20 years, but the filling is almost like new. It smells oil and kerosene, many devices and motors are still there. Just like bed sheets and documents”.
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The Lun-class ekranoplan is a ground effect vehicle designed by Rostislav Alexeyev in 1975 and used by the Soviet and Russian navies from 1987 until sometime in the late 1990s.
It flew using the lift generated by the ground effect of its large wings when within about four metres (13 ft) above the surface of the water. Although they might look similar to regular aircraft, and have related technical characteristics, ekranoplans like the Lun are not aircraft, seaplanes, hovercraft, nor hydrofoils. Rather, “ground effect” is a distinct technology. The International Maritime Organization classifies these vehicles as maritime ships.
The name Lun comes from the Russian word for harrier.
On 31 July 2020, the only completed MD-160 Lun class ekranoplan was towed from Kaspiysk naval base to Derbent, Dagestan. It will be put on display at the planned Patriot Park. The journey was approximately 100 km (62 miles) across the Caspian Sea; moving the ekranoplan required the use of rubber pontoons, three tugboats and two escort vessels. However, while towing the vessel to its destination, the vehicle got stuck in the sandy beach on the shore of the Caspian Sea just south of the town of Derbent. The vehicle was too heavy to be pulled off the sand and the managing team was not properly equipped, so the ekranoplan was secured and stayed on the beach for next 5 months, becoming a local attraction. Ground works and a new attempt in December 2020, finally resulted in the plane being moved some 20-30m from the sea.
Also see what’s inside the abandoned Soviet Project 641 submarine, also visit the abandoned submarine shelter, abandoned radio station to seek for traces of extra-terrestrial civilizations, the abandoned armoured repair factory in Ukraine and unbelivable abandoned space shuttle hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome!