During the year 1987, Russia was pushing their boundaries on technology and military advancement. What they were building and testing during that time actually prompted the United States, Area 51 in fact, to build unmanned drones to spy on their actions. This plan of action was brought about when images were taken of a giant vessel flying across the Caspian Sea at unheard of speeds. The US military wasn’t sure what they were looking at. A vessel that could reach speeds achieved only by airplanes but stayed low enough that it would hide under radar much like a stealthy boat. The spying revealed what the Russian’s dubbed the Lun Class Ekranoplan. Not quite an airplane and not quite a ship, the Ekranoplan was something much more and it terrified Navies around the world. It weighs in at a whopping 380 tons and has a wingspan of 148 feet. It contained 6 anti-ship missiles that could be launched from flight or from a stand still. The Lun Class Ekranoplan could only reach an altitude of about 15 feet above the sea so it was more of a harrier styled ship than a plane. This incredible piece of machinery is in a class all its own.
The Lun Class Ekranoplan was built from scrap past projects in 1987 and was commissioned for use until sometime in the late 90’s. It is 240 feet long and boasts 6 Moskit anti-ship missiles capable of reaching a top speed of Mach 3. Combined with the top speed of the Ekranoplan, these missiles would be undetected until about 30 seconds before they hit. In comparison, the most destructive anti-ship missile the U.S. had at that time gave enemies a 2 minute warning.