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Some American firm at least started to manufacture a small version which they marketed as a sort of flying speedboat with the slogan 'no beach out of reach'. There was a documentary about the Soviet design a few years ago entitled 'The Caspian sea monster'.
I'm always surprised that they haven't used ground effect craft on, say, cross Channel ferry routes.


FFS ! 8 turbofans, they'd be in mid- Germany by the time the drivers put down their first glass of antifreeze !
Apparently the fuel card fills up faster than a Fijian sex offender's register, even the bushy eyebrowed Breshnev era Red Army couldn't afford it!
Would of loved to see the KM for real. Wonder if NATO would of shit it if it had gone into production.


Book Reviewer
The Russians announced they were abandoning the programme in November. Caspian Sea Monster faces extinction — RT The Ekranoplan has difficulty with heavy seas so, although you can lift large numbers of men and move them extremely quickly, it's not really an ocean-going proposition and it has limited application - the Russians apparently lost one when when a wing dug in. If you're interested in what one of the fleet survivors looks like (I think there are actually two left), here's the most complete set of shots I'm aware of. Russian Tank-Ship-Plane (86 pics) (edited to add that there is also a link to these in the original post).
Bloody hell, I can remember the stir this caused when it appeared on the cover of Jane's Defence Weekly, very early 1990s.

It always struck me as a solution looking for a problem, though. In terms of fast insertion in the littoral, does it have enough to distinguish it from a hovercraft? The Soviets were no slouches in that department, either.

Impressive, though. Always made me think of Thunderbird 2. Which is perhaps reason enough for it to have existed. :)


Book Reviewer
The designer must have been missing a vocation as a snake-oil salesman. It is a matter of common sense that 'ground effect' flight can only take place if the 'ground' is fairly flat. The vehicle has manifestly no capability over rough sea and also it is not clear how a fleet of these enormous craft, sufficient for (say) a brigade groupo lift with its vehicles etc, could be assembled un-noticed on any 'friendly' shore where there was even a chance of them being used, even against eastern Denmark. Kruschev, a land animal if ever there was one, took the bait I imagine because no-one who knew he was wrong wanted a stretch in the Gulag for telling him that. I would have thought the engines were somewhat exposed to seabird ingestion also. Maybe that's why one version has turboprops.

The US had a look at the situation in the 40s and without going down the ground-effect route came up with a flying boat with nose doors, the turbo-prop Convair R3Y Tradewind. The tactical concept was that troops and tanks would be loaded up and flown to wherever the war was, and would then be disgorged on the beach as the aircraft taxied in after arriving, as it were, from nowhere. The programme died the death in the 50s.

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