From the Barents Observer:
To protect the Northern Sea Route, Russia gives rebirth to missile-armed ekranoplans
The Lun-class missile carrying Ekranoplan was operating in the Caspian Sea in the late 1980s.
Flying just a few feet above the surface, the wing-in-ground-effect craft could patrol huge areas where infrastructure is weakly developed.
It was nick-named «Caspian Sea Monster» - the massive missile carrying half-boat, half-plane looking construction. First flying in 1987, the Lun-class ekranoplan with a wingspan of 38 meters was just flying for some years. After the Cold War, the battle aircraft was mothballed and is now stored in Kaspiysk in Dagestan.
A more modern version, named Orlan, is now included to be developed under the 2018-2027 state armament program. First, a prototype craft armed with missiles will be built, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told TASS on Monday.
«The state armament program for 2018-2027 includes the Orlan research- and development work, which stipulates the construction of the wing-in-ground-effect craft. The prototype will be created as part of this armament program and it will carry missile armament,» Yuri Borisov said.
The craft will be used to protect the Northern Sea Route where infrastructure today is weakly protected.*March 31, 2017
Ekranoplans have the advantage of flying at lower altitude than ordinary aircraft but moves at higher speed than a ship.
TASS reported in 2015 that the navy expected to get a standardized ekranoplan with a lifting capacity of up to 300 tonnes by 2020....MORE
China To Debut World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft, Handy For Supplying Newly-Built Islands (plus Tim Draper does a cameo)
... We still have respect for Mr. Draper's money and Sand Hill Road power. Here's the new plane via SiliconBeat:
Oops, wrong plane. That's the Soviet "Lun". And yes those are rocket launchers on top of the fuselage.
Here's the right story, SiliconBeat March 28:...