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Development of New Ekranoplan Type GEV for Russia`s Navy is underway.

| 2017
Naval Industry News - Russia
Development of New Ekranoplan Type GEV for Russia`s Navy is underway
A super-heavy transport-landing ground effect vehicle (GEV) being capable of sea (like its predecessors, the Ekranoplan) and ground landing is being developed for Russia`s military. The dimensions of the GEV will be comparable with those of the KM ground effect vehicle - the base for the Project 903 (Lun) aerial vehicle - that was known well in the Soviet age. The GEV is planned to be used in the Arctic region and in the Pacific for search-and-rescue operations and logistics support of remote bases, according to the Izvestia newspaper.
Development of New Ekranoplan Type GEV for Russia`s Navy is underwayRadar MMS Cargo Ekranoplan A-080-752 at IDMS 2013
The experts say that such vehicles may become optimal landing platforms, as their speed is higher than that of ships and boats. They also feature low radar signature and invulnerability to mines and torpedoes.

The Izvestia newspaper was told at the Navy`s General Headquarters that the works to develop a prototype of a GEV with a lifting capacity of several hundred tons that would be able to accomplish various tasks in the interest of the military had been embedded in the state armament program for 2018-2025. The vehicles are being considered to be used for search-and-rescue operations in the Arctic region (along with the Northern Sea Route) and logistics support of remote bases. The Alekseev Central design bureau for hydrofoil vessels is believed to be developing the vehicle.
Development of New Ekranoplan Type GEV for Russia`s Navy is underwayLun Ekanoplan. Picture: Stock Archives of Soviet Navy
The company told the newspaper that the issue was the designing of a basic platform tentatively named Spasatel (Rescuer). According to Izvestia, the vehicle has a weight of nearly 600 t, a length of 93 m and a wingspan of 71 m. The decision in favor of a heavy GEV was made, as such platforms can fly at Level 5-6 sea state.

The mockups of the Spasatel have passed the trials in the aerodynamic tunnel of the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute in Zhukov sky near Moscow and in a special pool. The experts have made positive conclusion, the technical plan has been maintained, and the manufacturing cooperation has been established. A full-scale mockup fitted with a cockpit and operators` workplaces is planned to be assembled. The Samara-based Kuznetsov company will develop a powerplant for the Spasatel. The prototypes for the static and dynamic trials will have to be produced. The vehicle is planned to make its flight in 2022-2023 and to finish the trials in 2025.

The Spasatel`s range is expected to be several thousand kilometers, and the vehicle will be able to land at both sea surface and ground. To this end, it will be fitted with wheel landing gear and an advanced mechanization of the wing. The Soviet-age GEVs were not equipped with chassis and could land only at sea surfaces, like hydroplanes. Therefore, their exploitation was limited. The new vehicles may come into an active use in the Arctic region and the Pacific.
Development of New Ekranoplan Type GEV for Russia`s Navy is underwayAnti-ship and land attack missiles may be fitted in the Ekranoplan A-080-752
The GEV will be fitted with a ramp to provide loading and unloading of troops and cargoes. The vehicle will be able to transport up to 500 servicemen with weapons at a speed of 550 km/h. The mobility of the Spasatel will exceed that of landing ships. Moreover, the GEV sits in draft with enemy`s mine barriers and torpedoes, while it can hardly be detected via a radar, owing to low altitude of its flight.

Alexander Mozgovoy, an expert, told the Izvestia newspaper that bringing of GEVs back in service would be a breakthrough for Russia. "GEVs are more cost-effective compared with fixed-wing aircraft," he pointed out.

Ground effect vehicles are hybrid transport means. Owing to an air cushion, they can glide over sea surfaces, ice- or snow-fields, tundra, steppes or deserts. The Project 903 GEV had a take-off weight of 380 t; it was fitted with six Moskit anti-ship missiles. However, the Lun project was put on hold after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Izvestia newspaper says.

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