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Lun (Ekranoplan)

Ground Effect Flying Boat / Anti-Ship Warfare Aircraft

Lun (Ekranoplan)

Ground Effect Flying Boat / Anti-Ship Warfare Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The massive Lun Ekranoplan was one of the most unique aircraft designs of the Cold War years - it remains available to the modern Russian fleet.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Soviet Union
YEAR: 1987
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Central Hydrofoil Design Bureau - Soviet Union
PRODUCTION: 1
OPERATORS: Russia; Soviet Union
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Lun MD-160 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 15
LENGTH: 242.13 feet (73.8 meters)
WIDTH: 144.36 feet (44 meters)
HEIGHT: 62.99 feet (19.2 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 630,522 pounds (286,000 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 837,757 pounds (380,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 8 x Kuznetsov NK-87 turbojet engines developing 28,600lb of thrust each.
SPEED (MAX): 342 miles-per-hour (550 kilometers-per-hour; 297 knots)
RANGE: 1,243 miles (2,000 kilometers; 1,080 nautical miles)
CEILING: 24,606 feet (7,500 meters; 4.66 miles)




ARMAMENT



6 x fixed SS-N-22 Sunburn anti-ship missile launchers over the fuselage spine.
2 x 23mm PI-23 twin-barreled anti-aircraft cannons
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• Lun Ekranoplan - Base Series Class Designation
• MD-160 - Single Production Model Designation


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Lun (Ekranoplan) Ground Effect Flying Boat / Anti-Ship Warfare Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 10/24/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
One of the more interesting of the Cold War aircraft developments became the massive Soviet Lun Ekranoplan (NATO codename of "Duck"), a flying boat of sorts designed around the use of turbojet propulsion, ground effect physics and a boat-like airframe hull. The design intent was a sea-skimming transport vehicle for the Soviet Navy armed with anti-ship missiles and cannon to counter the threat of Western surface fleet interference. The Lun entered service in 1987 - just prior to the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991 - and was built in just one production-quality example as the "MD-160". The MD-160 began operational service with the Black Sea Fleet with its design attributed to engineer Rostislav Evgenievich Alexseev.

Ground effect allowed designers to utilize the inherent reaction of a winged airframe with the naturally occurring forces found near the surface of the earth. In effect, the aircraft was designed to skin the surface as if a hovercraft, though achieving greater altitudes. Ground effect allows an aircraft to utilize lower lift-dependent drag and, theoretically, provide greater efficiency in its forward momentum. The Lun Ekranoplan became an excellent example of this achievable principle though its kind has yet to find widespread use.

Externally, the Lun was a mix of boat and aircraft, showcasing a very bow-like fuselage with straight, mid-mounted wing appendages (capped by pontoons), a single vertical tail fin mounting a pair of swept-back horizontal planes in a "T" style arrangement and a forward-set flight deck. No fewer than 8 x Kuznetsov NK-87 series turbojet engines were fitted, these along the forward section of the fuselage just aft of the cockpit, and set as two groups of four engines each. As such, the engines could cleanly aspirate from the front in the usual manner and exhaust aft, over the main wing assemblies. The engine arrangement netted a thrust output of 28,000lbs each, propelling the Lun at speeds equaling 342 miles per hour over water. Operational range was 1,200 miles (1,000 nautical miles) with the vehicle crewed by fifteen including six officers. The Lun was designed to haul up to 220,000lbs to 300,000lbs of goods in its deep boat-like hull. The nose housed a Puluchas search radar suite.




The Lun Ekranoplan sported an overall length of 242 feet with a wingspan of 144 feet and height to tail top of 63 feet - making her one of the largest operational "aircraft" ever completed. On empty, the system weighed in at 630,500lbs and held a maximum take-off weight of 837,700lbs. Cruising speeds were in the vicinity of 280 miles per hour. When making headway, the Lun Ekranoplan reached heights of 16 feet from the surface of the water and measured a listed overall operating altitude of 24,600 feet.

While built as a transport, the Lun was appropriately armed with 6 x SS-N-22 series "Sunburn" anti-ship missiles fitted to six launchers angled over the fuselage in fixed positions and arranged inline in three pairings (Sunburn missiles were eventually adopted by the navies of China, India and Iran in time). Tracking and engagement facilities were housed in the nose section as well as the tail unit. The crew could also call upon 2 x 23mm PI-23 powered turrets (4 x total cannons) for direct-fire support against incoming aerial and surface threats. One turret was fitted ahead of the missile launchers and the other fitted in the tail.

Beyond the sole MD-160, a second Lun Ekranoplan was under construction at some point (as a quick-reaction, mobile field hospital also for the Soviet Navy). Though nearly completed, this unit was never made operational during the period prior to the fall of the Soviet Empire. It was revived to an extent after a review in 2007. As such, this second unit may well see the light of day in the coming years. The original MD-160 can still be operated is called upon though it remains inactive at the Kaspiysk naval facility in the Caspian Sea.




MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (342mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Lun MD-160's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Commitments / Honors
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* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.