Monster of the Caspian Sea – A Once Glorious Soviet Aircraft Rusting Away on a Beach

Developed during the 1980’s in Soviet Russia, the futuristic looking MD-160 Lun-class ekranoplan had been sitting unused at a Russian naval base since the late 1990’s, but has now been beached on the shores of the Caspian Sea, as part of a plan to turn it into an ocean-side tourist attraction.

Known as the Caspian Sea Monster, the giant ekranoplan was designed in 1975 by Rostislav Evgenievich Alexeyev, a prominent developer of of hydrofoil ships and ground effect vehicles. It used a cushion of air beneath its giant wings to hover at about 13 feet above water, making it hard to detect. It was built as part of the Soviet WIG program, which dated back to the 1960’s Cold War, and was the only Lun-class ekranoplan to ever be completed and equipped with supersonic missiles.

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