The prototype of the ground effect vehicles “Orlan”, armed with cruise missiles, is planned to be developed in Russia as part of the state armament programme for the period until 2027, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov told reporters on 30 July.
“In the state armament programme of 2018-2027 there is an experimental development activity “Orlan”, which provides for the construction of an ekranoplan (ground effect vehicles), the prototype will be created within the framework of this weapons program, it will carry missile weapons,” Borisov said.
According to him, the ekranoplan will be used to protect the Northern Sea Route, where the Russian infrastructure is poorly developed. “He can patroling, close these areas, the inner seas too: the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea,” the deputy prime minister said.
A ground effect vehicle (GEV), are also called ekranoplan, is a vehicle that is capable of being elevated above ground or water, but should not be confused with a hovercraft or aircraft, though it floats like both above surfaces.
Previously, two GEV models were developed for the Soviet and Russian Armed Forces — a military-transport Orlyonok ekranoplan and the Lun-class ekranoplan with cruise missiles, but in the 1990s, these projects were curtailed after funding was cut.
At present, the only existing model of Lun GEV is decommissioned and mothballed in the Caspian Sea.
It is likely that a new GEV will develop by the Alekseev’s Design Bureau. SC Alekseev’s Design Bureau — is a Russian company that builds high-speed civil, dual-purpose and military vehicles based on various hydrodynamic principles. These are hovercraft and hydrofoils, air cavity craft and gliding boats with different bottom configuration, multipurpose platforms and ekranoplanes. The company is the world leader in these design fields.