Interesting, though already forgotten piece of Soviet military technology

Screens are structures that resemble airplanes and utilize similar physical phenomena, but operate only at a limited height above ground or water. Imagine the fear on the faces of Western generals when they learned that the Soviets had similar machines to speeding boats up to 650 km / h, capable of rapidly destroying US aircraft carriers. What’s more, many point out that the screenplays can come back to favor with Vladimir Putin.

In terms of construction, the screen is similar to a plane, or airplane. This demonstrates, for example, the hull construction, the presence of vertical and horizontal ballasts, and some steering surfaces. Shields usually had a relatively small extension of the rectangular outline, and their drive was a battery of several motors – up to eight and sometimes ten.

The principle of screen operation is almost identical to that of an airplane. This is primarily the use of the phenomenon of land influence. Any plane or screen that hoveres over a surface at an altitude of more than or equal to the span of its wings makes it possible to fly with significantly lower carrier forces than at higher altitudes. Just right above the surface of the earth or water to create a bearing force is the “air bag”, thanks to which the effective resistance is induced from 5 to as much as 65%. The higher – the greater the resistance. Thanks to this, the screen to perform the flight at this altitude required much less bearing capacity. This, in turn, translated into the ability to make a flight with much larger missile and torpedo charges. Theoretically, a screen with a proper loading configuration could fly and fly as an ordinary plane – but was not designed for it, and its task was to operate only in the area of ​​land effect.

Due to the fact that the screen was designed to move only at low altitudes, the structure of the wing could be much simpler. But the stick also had the other end: the need to operate on the seas created a risk of getting water into the engine air inlets. Contemporary passenger aircraft engines are designed to draw in a certain amount of water, but it’s nothing to do with the environment in which the screen has to be operated. For this reason, the motors of this incredible construction had to be hung as high as possible in the vicinity of the tail or in a special gondola over the wings.

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The concept of using the screen protector was intended to be used for a rapid attack on surface targets. The fastest military vessels currently in use are able to accelerate to about 90 km / h. Shields such as the experimental “Caspian Sea Monster” were capable of rushing over water at speeds up to 650 km / h. This is the ideal means to make a quick attack on very important naval targets such as merchant ships, aircraft carriers or battleships. Driving at a speed close to the plane, the screen was also a heavy target for – then still – fairly simple radars. They did not cope with catching the rapidly moving threat at low altitude.

The task of screenplays was not just an attack. Their high payload and speed enabled a very quick relocation of military units and equipment from one edge to another. This was of particular importance in areas such as the Caspian Sea, where a large accumulation of Soviet units and the presence of the fleet required a fast means of transport.

The most famous screen was probably the experimental “Kaspian Sea Monster”, or “Caspian Sea Monster”. It was a huge screen project of wingspan of up to 37 meters (ie more than at least Airbus A320) and take-off weight up to 550 tonnes. The engine of this magnificent machine was a battery of 10 turbojet engines, the Dobryn VD-7, used in several Soviet aircraft. The “Caspian Sea Monster” sank in the vicinity of 1980 as a pilot error and is still somewhere in the Caspian Sea.

Another very interesting project was the project “Project 903 Lun”. The weight of 286 tons “Lun” had a payload of up to 92 tons. It was powered by eight Kuzniecow NK-87 turbojet engines, which allowed it to develop speeds of up to 550 kilometers per hour. Built at the end of the 1980s, Project 903 was to scare the seas and be a shock force to the USSR. Plate armament consisted of P1-23 23 mm caliber guns in two turrets and 6 P-270 Moskit anti-ship missile launchers.

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“Lun” had a drawback. He could only operate in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea, so he was useless against American carriers in the oceans. Moreover, the project was plagued by a number of technical faults. The problem was also that during the tests on the stormy sea, the machine was momentarily stopped by the incoming waves. “Lun” was withdrawn from service and is now resting in the Caspian port. You can view it, for example, in Google Maps, after climbing coordinates (42 ° 52’55.0 “N 47 ° 39’25.0” E)

In retrospect, larger-scale screenings in the military did not take place. The development of modern missile technology and maneuvering missiles made the tactical significance of the screenplay virtually disappear. This has led to the development of radar technology, which effectively suppressed one of the main strengths of the screen – the ability to strike quickly. The experience gained from the work on this type of construction is, however, heavily used today. Some of the solutions were transferred to modern hydrofoils, hovercraft, and even flying boats and amphibians.

Some screenplays still fly in “civilian” today, carrying loads and passengers. In places where short sea shipping is important, you can still find single structures of this type. Furthermore, some companies and research centers are testing the revival of the screen on a wider scale. This type of research is conducted by companies from China.

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Carmen Coleman

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