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Russia returns to flirting with Wing in Ground (WiG) Vehicles

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posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 02:39 PM
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The Soviet Union had a long history of working on the wing in ground effect vehicles. These aircraft used the ground effect caused by an airfoil when it is relatively close to the ground. The Soviets called the concept the Ekranoplan. They built some several prototypes and small batches of the aircraft. The largest of these was the Caspian Sea Monster which was the equivalent of an X Plane. The Soviets also designed armed Lun class. The Lun carried six Moskit ASM. Only one was built though. The Soviets also built the Orlyonok, which seems to have been unarmed, but only 4 of them were operational. With the fall of the Soviet Union, it appears the Ekranplans were scrapped shortly after due to cash issues and high maintenance.

Since then, other than paper studies (like Boeing's Pelican), the only country that seems to have worked on the WIG concept is Iran, but it is often hard to tell how accurate their claims are.

The Russians now claim that is coming to an end and they are returning to developing WIG vehicles. The need they have for it does seem legit: the want the Orlan ekranoplan to patrol the Arctic. With the Northwest Passage opening reliably and the rush for the Arctic on, albeit at a semi glacial pace, the Russians want to make sure their claims are protected. After all, not just the Arctic bordering nations are getting interested: China has started poking around up there extensively and been voal in its interest. The speed and large payload for the size of the aircraft make it not a bad choice for patrolling such a vast, empty border.

However, the details are beyond scarce, which lends itself to making skeptics like myself questioning whether or not the effort is real or one of Russia's grand bogus boasts. The Russians also have so much on their plate right now with modernization, I have very sincere doubts they can afford this, too. After all, there is the Tu-160 modernization, the Su-57, the Mig-41, the new destroyer, new carrier, new submarines, new nuclear weapons, new tanks, new IFVs, new B@tsh1t crazy weapons, unmanned weapons and the hypersonic weapons, t'boot. That's a lot for a country with an economy smaller than Germany based on PPP or Canada if based on nominal GDP.

I've always thought WIGV's were something that ought to be pursued: the Boeing Pelican could have been an amazing replacement or perhaps compliment for the C-5. Imagine being able to lift an entire M-1 tank company in a single aircraft! Three or four could carry an entire an entire heavy battalion. Twenty could carry a brigade. If we bought 120, you could move three to six army brigades in a single lift. That would have been...amazing. Except, well, given Boeing's performance on contracts as of late, ahem.

I will be watching and interested to see what comes. However, I am not holding my breath on the whole thing.

Oh, Warzone has their own take .




posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 03:50 PM
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Interesting to say the least but Russia should focus on perhaps a few realistic designs that will actually see service in their military.

There is alot of ohhhh and ahhhhh, but little in the way of deployed systems



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 04:47 PM
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a reply to: anzha

It is a super cool idea. And something like that I imagine would be hard for a # to detect unless the craft stopped. And it would be under the radar so I can definitely see the advantages of having one.



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 05:18 PM
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originally posted by: Allaroundyou
a reply to: anzha

It is a super cool idea. And something like that I imagine would be hard for a # to detect unless the craft stopped. And it would be under the radar so I can definitely see the advantages of having one.


Actually from an airborne radar or lookdown type it should be pretty easy to pick up. They also readily appear in SAR imagery

It also would be difficult to make stealthy but you could reduce its RCS a bit. I suspect an Aegis system would have the same detection range as a sea skimming missile about 10-20 nm



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 05:43 PM
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a reply to: FredT

Supposedly, there was a sea skimming, WIG missile or drone the Chinese were working on. Supposedly.

Forgot about it until you mentioned the missile thing.



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 05:55 PM
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originally posted by: FredT

originally posted by: Allaroundyou
a reply to: anzha

It is a super cool idea. And something like that I imagine would be hard for a # to detect unless the craft stopped. And it would be under the radar so I can definitely see the advantages of having one.


Actually from an airborne radar or lookdown type it should be pretty easy to pick up. They also readily appear in SAR imagery

It also would be difficult to make stealthy but you could reduce its RCS a bit. I suspect an Aegis system would have the same detection range as a sea skimming missile about 10-20 nm


OHHhhh. I didn’t know that.



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 05:57 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Hey, when You mentioned the "ekranoplan", I remebered a documentary, that I saw a while back. After some light digging on YT, I found two. Both in russian, which I am fluent in. The first is from 2015. which, I believe, is the one I saw. There's also a newer one.

Links (only russian, though) -

1st -


2nd -


If only I could be a??ed to translate them.. I'm a bit inebriated right now, but if by tomorrow.. And I mean, in some 12 hours, I could try to translate it. Just that most of the aviation stuff, that You guys in AP forums are usually talking about, sounds like some "magical" mumbo jumbo to me.
Still, I could try and be glad to.

P.S. If there's already a translation for these docu's feel free to inform me. Otherwise, my proposal still stands. And if I'm absolutely sure, that I'm unable to figure something out, I'll make a thread about it. Just a PSA, if anyone's interested.



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: nowanmai

spasebo.



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 06:08 PM
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a reply to: anzha

It's spa-si-bo! Спасибо!
You're welcome! Не за что! (not quite, but the closest I can come up with, anyway.)



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 06:15 PM
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a reply to: nowanmai

sorry. Only done Left Bank Ukrainian spoken Russian and very badly at that. par russki malinki (or is it minoga?). I'm really bad with reading other than signs.



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 06:24 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Oh, I guess what You tried to say.. po-russki malinki (по-русски маленки), or smth like that. Damn, I'm bad at reading russian in latin letters.

Sent you a pm, so we don't mess up the thread and get hit with the *hammer.



posted on Jul, 30 2018 @ 06:57 PM
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a reply to: anzha



I have a (probably unhealthy) WiG obsession. But still a full head of hair.



I still feel like the tandem fan idea should have gone somewhere, too.

I have a handful of probably generally unmerited biases, and the WiG's are one of them.



posted on Jul, 31 2018 @ 02:46 AM
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There's probably a good reason why ground effect craft have been a developmental dead end. One reason is the difficultly in avoiding ships and other obstacles that may get in the way, while a conventional aeroplane can fly over them. The other (as I understand) is the stress on the craft during bad weather, leading to the inability to function.



posted on Jul, 31 2018 @ 02:55 AM
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Like hovercrafts but faster...



posted on Jul, 31 2018 @ 06:00 AM
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British Aerospace did some work looking at it years ago, I found a paper on it when I worked there, don’t think it came to much, although imagine the allied landings in Normandy if they had huge wigs!

Problem with putting all your armor in one though is like the UK found in the Falklands, you lost that ship, you significantly reduce your capability.



posted on Jul, 31 2018 @ 09:54 AM
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My main question is why?

If this can be made to work, what can it do that can't be done with a variety of other systems?



posted on Jul, 31 2018 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: face23785

It has a good balance between speed and payload.

It carries far, far more than aircraft can: Boeing's Pelican could carry 1400 tons in a single flight, enough for an entire M-1 tank company. It also will go far, far faster than a ship: 235 mph, roughly. It also uses fuel more efficiently per ton payload than standard aircraft.

The primary use would be rapid airlift of large units. A C-5 replacement or compliment. You can move enormous amounts very fast and could either refuel in the air (though that might get exciting) or land in the water and refuel from a naval tanker ship.



posted on Jul, 31 2018 @ 12:01 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: face23785

It has a good balance between speed and payload.

It carries far, far more than aircraft can: Boeing's Pelican could carry 1400 tons in a single flight, enough for an entire M-1 tank company. It also will go far, far faster than a ship: 235 mph, roughly. It also uses fuel more efficiently per ton payload than standard aircraft.

The primary use would be rapid airlift of large units. A C-5 replacement or compliment. You can move enormous amounts very fast and could either refuel in the air (though that might get exciting) or land in the water and refuel from a naval tanker ship.


Sounds like it might be a good alternative to an ocean-going transport, if they could design dedicated shipping lanes where it never had to maneuver. The limitations on where it can go seem like an obstacle. You'd then have to offload to more traditional modes to complete shipping.



posted on Jul, 31 2018 @ 01:00 PM
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a reply to: face23785

it'll be more expensive, but for certain situations, it sounds appealing. Unfortunately, the West has little interest in it. Which is a bummer. If you had enough parking spots, you could probably deploy an entire medium brigade with 4 or 5. You could move that brigade from Guam to Taiwan in 7 hours.

My laughable but fun idea for a civilian application would be to have a ferry from Oakland to Los Angeles, get there is under 2 hours...in your car. slurp up 200 cars in Oakland at the port, tug pulls you to the golden gate, and then ZIIIIPPP. Offload everyone pickup and go back. call it 4 round trips per day with 200 cars each way. That means 1600 cars per day. Call it a downtime of 65 days per year (high by a lot, but hey). That means 480k cars per year. Call it 5 years before you want to break even. (Cost of WIGV+ operating costs)/2.4M cars. For electric cars, this seems like a great 'solution' to the range issue.



posted on Jul, 31 2018 @ 02:42 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: face23785

it'll be more expensive, but for certain situations, it sounds appealing. Unfortunately, the West has little interest in it. Which is a bummer. If you had enough parking spots, you could probably deploy an entire medium brigade with 4 or 5. You could move that brigade from Guam to Taiwan in 7 hours.


*Ding, Ding*

Or, for example,...

Sasebo to Changwon is only 150 miles. Imagine being able to respond on the ground in a few hours (load/unload times) from the green light. And then make multiple runs a day as things ramp up. Guam is 1800 miles, Diego Garcia is 4300. It's alot easier to clear large open spots on a beach than to build an airfield that will take a C-5 or even C-17, and I imagine most extant airfields will have a bad time of it. For that matter why not make a mess of a beachfront near Wosan and land up North.

Same scenarios from: Kuwait/UAE to anywhere in the Gulf, Diego Garcia to anywhere (much longer trip, but centrally located to many theatres).
Egypt/Italy/Greece through the Dardenelles and Bosphorus Straights into the Black Sea and on to Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, etc
Phillipines to Taiwan or Korea or the contested Spratleys.

Lots of plausible uses.

ETA: Desert Shield was a five month buildup before opening the campaign! Took over a month to comfortably say, "we can stop a push into SA" despite a massive buildup from multiple countries. A lot of stuff was moved by air; they even mobilized the Civil Reserve Fleet. But despite most soldiers being airlifted in quickly, the vast majority of equipment came by sea. Ponderously.
edit on 31-7-2018 by RadioRobert because: (no reason given)



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