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Alexeyev KM Ekranoplan "Caspian Sea Monster"

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Uploaded on Aug 26, 2008

The Central Hydrofoil Design Bureau (CHDB), led by Alexeev, was the center of ground-effect craft development in Russia. The military potential for such a craft was soon recognised and Alexeyev received support and financial resources from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. This led to the development of the Caspian Sea Monster, a 550 ton military ekranoplan. Before it, some manned and unmanned prototypes were built, ranging up to eight tons in displacement.

The ekranoplan has a lifting power of 1,000 tonnes (984 long tons), among the largest ever achieved. The KM, as the Caspian Sea Monster was known in the top secret Soviet military development program, was over 100 metres (328 ft) long, weighed 540 t (531 long tons) fully loaded, and could travel over 400 kilometres per hour (249 mph), mere meters above the surface of the water.[6][7] Another model was the Lun-class, entering service with the Black Sea Fleet in 1987; the Lun-class vehicles had a top speed of 297 knots (550 km/h).

The important design principle is that wing lift is reduced as operating altitude of the ekranoplan is increased (see ground effect). Thus it is dynamically stable in the vertical dimension. Once moving at speed, the ekranoplan was no longer in contact with the water, and could move over ice, snow, or level land with equal ease, though flight over land would have involved extreme risks unless the surface were dependably flat.

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