Russia Designed a 'Sea Monster' Vehicle to Speed Up Water Travel

Thursday, 24 August 2017 - 7:15PM
Technology
Thursday, 24 August 2017 - 7:15PM
Russia Designed a 'Sea Monster' Vehicle to Speed Up Water Travel
Twitter
Russia is dusting off some old ship designs from the country's Soviet era in order to revolutionize cargo sea transport in the modern era.

It's one of those odd cases where something old does a better job at meeting our needs than modern technology: the Chaika A-050, a new ground effect vehicle (GEV) that used to be a common part of Soviet cargo shipping, but which fell out of favor after the end of the Cold War. The crafts, nicknamed "sea monsters," were first spotted by American spy planes in the 1960s, and fly at speeds of up to 300mph, just twenty feet above water.

This made them a speedy alternative to more traditional means of cargo haulage. And due to their enormous size, they were capable of hauling twice as much cargo as equivalent ferries and boats, leading many to believe that they were the future of water transport.



Now, after decades of inactivity, GEVs are back. The Russian Embassy in South Africa has tweeted out a photo of a model of the Chaika A-050, which will hopefully be operational as a passenger craft by 2022, carrying a hundred passengers at a time on a zippy water-based journey.

Due to their position above the water, the crafts should also hopefully provide less of a bumpy ride than boats, which are more beholden to the waves and winds, and are more likely to give passengers seasickness.




The American government wasn't exactly thrilled with GEVs back in the era of the Cold War, in large part because, in addition to their speed, their low flying altitude means that they can't be detected by radar. It remains to be seen whether Russia will return to using GEVs as military vessels - at one point, some of these sea monsters in operation came equipped with anti-ship missiles, which no doubt helped to build up their reputation as near-mythical beasts.

The Russian military has understandably been coy about whether the Chaiki A-050 specifically will return to military service, or whether it will be purely a passenger vehicle. As much as this is no-doubt creating a headache for current US officers and their own new stealth warship, it's also kind of fun - it's not every day a real life sea monster legend is unexpectedly brought back to life.
Science
Science News
Technology