A sudden nightmare for any fleet: Why the US was afraid of Soviet ekranoplanes

An unidentified aircraft spotted by American satellites caught the Central Intelligence Agency by surprise at the height of the Cold War.

A sudden nightmare for any fleet: Why the US was afraid of Soviet ekranoplanes

This is stated in the publication of the Russian Seven portal.

The images captured a car of incredible size in the waters of the Caspian Sea. As it turned out later, it was KM. The abbreviation hid the prosaic “ship-mock”, but impressed Americans called it the Caspian monster.

KM was developed in the design bureau of Rostislav Alekseev. The car was an ekranoplan. Its feature was the use of an “air cushion”, which was a seal of the air flow under the wing of a low flying vehicle. This parameter set two conditions for the use of the CM – the extremely low altitude and the smoothest surface over which the flight takes place.

In 1966, the CM was launched from the Krasnoye Sormovo plant in Gorky. The device beat all records in size and weight. Its length was 92 meters, wingspan – 37.6 meters. Loaded to the limit, the ekranoplane weighed 544 tons. At the same time, the maximum design speed that KM could develop was 500 km / h.

The tests were successful, and Moscow approved the creation of an airborne ekranoplan, and then the ekranoplan-rocket carrier. The latter turned into a deadly machine that could defeat the fleet of a potential enemy. Features of the device, which could be regarded as a disadvantage, have become its advantage. A car flying at extremely low altitude was completely invisible to radar. It was possible to detect it only visually, however, by that time the plane was already at a strike distance. At the same time, the high speed of the device allowed him to quickly retreat after the attack.

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