×
Military Pay Military Ranks Aircraft Tanks and Vehicles Small Arms Navy Ships
HOME
AVIATION
MODERN AIR FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
COLD WAR
MODERN AIRCRAFT
X-PLANE

Lun (Ekranoplan)


Ground Effect Flying Boat / Anti-Ship Warfare Aircraft


Aviation / Aerospace

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.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/24/2017 | 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.


Specifications



Year:
1987
Status
Retired, Out-of-Service
Crew
15
[ 1 Units ] :
Central Hydrofoil Design Bureau - Soviet Union
National flag of Russia National flag of Soviet Union Russia; Soviet Union
- Anti-Ship
- Navy / Maritime
- X-Plane / Developmental
Length:
242.13 ft (73.8 m)
Width:
144.36 ft (44 m)
Height:
62.99 ft (19.2 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Lun MD-160 production model)
Empty Weight:
630,522 lb (286,000 kg)
MTOW:
837,757 lb (380,000 kg)
(Diff: +207,235lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Lun MD-160 production model)
8 x Kuznetsov NK-87 turbojet engines developing 28,600lb of thrust each.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Lun MD-160 production model)
Max Speed:
342 mph (550 kph; 297 kts)
Service Ceiling:
24,606 feet (7,500 m; 4.66 miles)
Max Range:
1,243 miles (2,000 km; 1,080 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Lun MD-160 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
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
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Lun MD-160 production model)
Lun Ekranoplan - Base Series Class Designation
MD-160 - Single Production Model Designation
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies
Military Ranks | Military Pay | Aircraft | Tanks & Vehicles | Small Arms | Navy Ships | American War Deaths | 5-Star Generals | Military Alphabet Code | DoD Terms | Convert Knots to Miles-per-Hour



The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-