online edition of JSC "TRK forces of the Russian Federation "STAR", dated from 16.07.17
website of the TV channel "Zvezda" tells about the new plans to
create a unique machine that can fly and swim.
Hydrofoil Design Bureau from Nizhny Novgorod, being a designer of combat
ekranoplanes and hydrofoils, announced that it will resume the work on a new
multipurpose ekranoplanes “Chaika-2”. It will be able to carry not only cargo
but passengers as well. It is supposed to be delivered not only to the domestic
companies, but also to foreign markets. The characteristics of the machine ae
declared too. It will be able to get up on unequipped shore with a slope of 5
degrees, base on the water and airfields of the level of 2nd class.
Its operation in wintertime with the wind’s speed of up to 12 m-sec. is not
excluded. Cruising speed of ekranoplane will vary from 350 to 450 km/hour. The
flying range of the machine will be up to 5 thousand km at the load weight of
up to 9 tons and passenger capacity of up to 100 people.
is needless to say that the announced characteristics are presentable. They
immediately remind us the predecessor of “Chaika” – the missile
ship-ekranoplane of the project 903 “Lun”. In abroad that machine was nicknamed
as the “Caspian sea monster”. It trials were carried out on the sea, into which
the Volga flows. There it was spotted and filmed by American spy –satellites.
It made a lot of noise at that time. Of course! Ekranoplane, which is able to
fly over the water at a height of 1-5 m with the speed of 500 km/hour, carried
on board six launchers of supersonic missiles “Mosquito”, which was in the West
called as “Sunburn”. There was no the rescue of it, including to corvette,
destroyer or frigate, aw well as aircraft carrier.
missile flies to the target with zigzags in the cloud of water spray at a
height of 3-4 meters above the wave. It is impossible to see it not only by eye
but to find out by radar. And then it rises upwards, like a cobra, and strikes
the target with great force, punching the deck or superstructure, and explodes
there, sweeping the inside of the enemy vessel. Our enemies was very much
afraid of this ekranoplane. No one in the world had such technic, which was
ahead of that time for decades. And all attempts to design something like that
in the United States ended in complete failure.
the deployment of the departments of such ships-ekranoplanes, which are able to
strike at ships and naval forces of the enemy, but also to be used as rescue,
sanitary vessels, for urgent freight delivery in remote areas of the far North,
was failed. The problem was that it was dashing nineties, the collapse of the
Soviet Union and all ensuing consequences. There was no money for building,
operation and maintenance of ekranoplanes of the “Lun” class and others, while
there should be not less than eight items. The prolonged dispute on to whom
give the money – the Navy or Air force, also led to the fact that no one want
to prepare the crew. And now, the last of the number of unique
ship-ekranoplanes is waiting to be sent to
is no such project in the state defense order for 2010-2020. In addition, there
is no talks about its revival. But maybe the civilian modification of the
granddaughter of “Lun” – a multi-purpose ekranoplane “Chaika-2” will interest
military? It is interesting question. However, in order to offer this machine
to military, it is necessary to design it, test and prove that it is fit and
safe for operation. The fact is that the civil predecessor of “Chaika” – a
small ekranoplane “Volga-2”, designed for transportation of eight passengers,
crashed in 2004, faced one of hydrofoils on the river. Since then, nobody carry
out the building of ekranoplanes. There is no question about the competence of
engineers of Alekseev’s Design Bureau. There is no doubts that the plant, where
the ekranoplanes were built in the past, will cope with this task. But the
problem remains opened: who will invest in design of such unique machine?
difficult to interest military for several reasons. First, it is not clear why
it is needed. There is no sense to make “Chiaka” attack on the ships of the
potential enemy. There is another technique for such tasks. For example, a
nuclear underwater cruisers of the project 841 with cruise missiles on Board or
the new multipurpose nuclear submarines of project 885 “Yasen” with “Kalibrs”.
what weapon can board the ekranoplane with a lifting capacity of 9 tons? Only
MANPADS, grenade launchers, machine guns. Shell we use it for passengers and
cargo transportation in remote areas> It can be done by transport
helicopters, although not at extreme range, at which “Chaika” can operate. It
can be necessary may be only to have it as a case for providing immediate
rescue and assistance in distress at sea? It can be but will it be too
expensive to maintain one-two such ships-ekranoplanes, crew training for them?
Everything should be calculated and understood, whether it is only way for such
purpose or we can recall the
aircraft-amphibious. For example, A-40 “Albatros”. In short, the painting of
‘Chaika” in color “khaki” is ambiguous question.
thing is to design the craft for South-east Asia, There, in the land of a
thousand islands, there hovercrafts and hydrofoils, designed by Alexeev’s DB,
are being operated for decades, such machine as “Chaika” will be useful. But it
will be difficult to penetrate that market, to interest It with the Russian
passenger ekranoplane as well as to design it. Although, as we know, a rolling
stone gathers no moss. Therefore, it remains only to wish Alexeev’s DB
perseverance and good luck.