A Soviet-made vehicle made headlines recently when a blogger photographed it stranded on the Caspian Sea coast.
A war machine designed to traverse waters and wipe out enemy forces was completely eliminated when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
It happens that there is another specimen of this almost extinct breed in another city, Nizhny Novgorod, on the banks of the Volga.
This craft known as an ecranoplane (a class of heavy aircraft with distinctive characteristics) is almost identical to the Caspian Sea monster, also known as “Lun”.
Thus, the winged boat Nizhny Novgorod, its twin brother Derbent, was designed to eliminate hostile forces by quickly flying over a body of water, due to the pressure created by the giant wings located under his body.
However, unlike the “Lun”, this model turned from a war machine into an emergency rescue vehicle and was nicknamed “Spasatel” (Rescuer).
“Initially, it was the same model, but they did not have time to complete it and decided to convert it into a civilian boat,” explains Tatiana Alekseeva, an engineer who participated in the construction of both cars in the 80s.
“So the ship became a big hospital. It had 150 beds and, if necessary, could transport 500 people at a time.”
Compared to the “Lun”, “Spasatel” may seem less intimidating, because it lacks anti-ship cruise missiles, which were withdrawn from service after the boat was converted for civilian purposes.
However, the two can be compared in size. Spasatil is 93 meters long and has a wingspan of 44 metres.
It was able to reach a cruising speed of 550 km / h – unmatched by any other heavy ship at that time.
But it was also abandoned at the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Currently located next to a factory in Nizhny Novgorod, it attracts bloggers and photographers as a unique example of Soviet engineering aspirations that never came true.
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