YouTube / Real Reporter
A gigantic machine that didn’t look like anything they had seen before. Its type and purpose were confusing as it looked like a cross between a plane and a ship. The Americans dubbed it the ‘Caspian Sea Monster.’ But what exactly is this…. thing?
This monster was developed at the height of the Cold War and was designed to glide over the water’s surface. Being neither in the water nor the sky made the Sea Monster virtually invisible to radars and sonars. And since it could glide, the monster could pass over sea mines and access shallow coastlines that were out of reach to conventional ships.
It used the ‘Ground Effect’ to fly. Whenever a regular plane few close to the ground, it forms an air cushion underneath, significantly boosting the lift. This also reduced drag, lowered fuel consumption, and dramatically increased top speeds.
This particular Sea Monster was built in 1986 and has eight forward jet engines that lifted it out of the water and two more on the tail that steered the plane once it’s in ground effect. It also had six anti-ship cruise missiles at the top, making it one of the deadliest machines of its class. However, no Sea Monster ever made it into mass production.
For one thing, they couldn’t operate in bad weather. The 1986 prototype – and its predecessors could not cross the Atlantic or any other major body of water. Furthermore, flying it within the ground effect proved to be very exhausting for its pilots to maneuver. Not to mention, it needed a lot of space to turn.
About two years ago, the Caspian Sea Monster was transported on a shore from a nearby naval yard to become the centerpiece of a new outdoor military museum in Russia’s Southern Republic of Dagestan.