The soviet A-90 Orlyonok ekranoplan (ground effect vehicle).
The Orlyonok was designed as a transport and also as a beach assault vehicle. Unlike other Soviet Ekranoplan designs, the Orlyonok was amphibious and was equipped with wheels for beaching and land based takeoffs.
The layout of the engines on the Orlyonok was unusual and a testament of the special needs of such an unconventional aircraft. Mounted in the top of the tail, it featured a massive Kuznetsov NK-12 turboprop, the most powerful turboprop ever made, which provided cruise power. The nose of the aircraft mounted two Kuznetsov NK-8 turbofan engines with the intakes on top of the nose and the exhaust along the side of the fuselage, the thrust of these engines being vectored under the wings to produce PAR thrust (increased lift and extra propulsion) for takeoff. Under cruise conditions and in ground effect, the front engines could be shut off since their power was unnecessary to keep the aircraft lifted, this also minimized intake of water, salt and ingestion of low flying birds.
Both takeoff and landing were assisted with large span-length flaps that greatly increased lift and could capture PAR thrust for increased air pressure. Water landings were assisted with a hydro-ski that extended out of the belly of the craft below the main wings.
The front end of the Orlyonok was hinged behind the radar dome and the whole assembly could open sideways to speed disembarkation of the infantry it carried, or of a BTR armoured personnel carrier. The Orlyonok had a built in folding ramp that allowed it to load and unload vehicles with no external support.
Only three flying units were build, usually stated as four as the first one crashed as was latter rebuilt, which stayed in service with the soviet and then russian navies until 1993.
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