Vva-14: The 14-Engined Soviet Aircraft Designed To Take Out Us Subs - Cnn

Vva-14: The 14-Engined Soviet Aircraft Designed To Take Out Us Subs - Cnn

The Soviet flying beast that never really took off

The only surviving prototype of this unusual plane now sits dilapidated in a field near Moscow, but it was once the hope of the Soviet Union against US submarine attacks.

1/27/2021 2:16:00 PM

The only surviving prototype of this unusual plane now sits dilapidated in a field near Moscow, but it was once the hope of the Soviet Union against US submarine attacks.

The only surviving prototype of the unusual Bartini Beriev VVA-14 vertical takeoff airplane sits dilapidated in a field near Moscow, but it was once the hope of the Soviet Union against US submarine attacks.

Courtesy Andrii SalnikovThe second prototype was supposed to receive the engines for vertical take off, but they were never fitted to the almost completed plane, because a suitable engine type was never developed. This doomed the project, and the aircraft was disassembled.

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Bartini tried to pump new life into the VVA-14 by turning into an ekranoplan, a type of aircraft that uses ground effect to glide close to a surface like water at high speed like a hovercraft does. The resulting tests, performed just after Bartini's death, informed the development of other such aircraft, making the USSR the undisputed leader in the field.

Despite this coda, however, the project was out of steam."I think the Soviet military very quickly realized that the effectiveness of the VVA-14 as an anti-submarine aircraft would have been low. It could only carry a very small number of missiles and the technical challenges of creating such an unusual vehicle were very large. Ultimately, the military relied on more conventional aircraft for the job," says Sovenko. headtopics.com

After it was retired, the original prototype was transferred by barge from Taganrog in southern Russia, where it had been built and tested, to a small town near Moscow, Lytkarino. Unloaded ashore, it was left unattended and partially destroyed and dismantled.

Later transported via helicopter to nearby Monino at the Central Air Force Museum, the aircraft remains badly damaged to this day."Indeed, some fragments of the original prototype have been in Monino for 33 years, in the form of scrap metal. Why the museum administration will not take measures to restore this very interesting aircraft, I don't know," says Sovenko.

Related contentAntonov An-225: World's biggest unfinished airplane lies hidden in warehouseMissing partsRussia's Central Air Force Museum says the cost of restoring the aircraft would be about $1.2 millionCourtesy Andrii SalnikovThe Central Air Force Museum is mostly open air, so much like the other aircraft in its collection -- the largest in the world for Soviet planes -- the VVA-14 has been sitting outdoors. Tucked away in a peripheral area of the exhibit, it's conspicuously missing its wings.

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Russia is gross.