A smaller sized ekranoplan, compared to the Caspian Sea Monster – Photo Source: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Some rights reserved by swissmil in Flickr
A smaller sized ekranoplan, compared to the Caspian Sea Monster – Photo Source: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Some rights reserved by swissmil in Flickr

Ekranoplan, The Floating Fortresses

These low flying planes can be as big as cargo ships, but travel as fast as any normal plane, how? All ekranoplans follow the same principle, by flying low to the surface of the water, they create a cushion of air that the Ground Effect Vehicle (GEV) rests on. Most widely known for their appearance in Russian navy, these beasts can carry payloads no normal plane can carry, while staying under most radar. Because the ekranoplan requires very little lift, they don’t need the super powerful thrust a normal plane would need. Ekranoplans can reach massive sizes because they function better when bigger, since they have higher stability on air. The major drawback for these GEVs is the problem with takeoff, they need an incredible amount of power to take off, but has little drag when in the air. The ekranoplan’s wings also have to be strong enough to land, but light enough to lift of the water. With an ekranoplan’s wings, it needs a large tail for stability, and are still not very stable. The even with these drawbacks, the GEV has lots of potential, and is another example of innovative Russian engineering.

Related Articles:

https://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/when-ships-have-wings-6/?page=2

https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2017/october-2017-navy-naval-forces-defense-industry-technology-maritime-security-global-news/5661-development-of-new-ekranoplan-type-gev-for-russia-s-navy-is-underway.html

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/06/ekranoplan_returns/

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