Launch

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wing in Ground - Coming back to Russia?



WIG aircraft may return, based on this:
Journalists accompanying Russia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov to the Volga region reported from Nizhny Novgorod that a national shipbuilding strategy for the 2008-2015 period would be approved the following year.

Under this plan, Russia will develop and produce high-speed hovercraft and wing-in-ground (WIG) craft. These transport systems will also be used in the civilian sector.

However, experts have serious reasons to doubt that the unique, albeit extremely costly, WIG craft, which fly several meters above the water at a high speed, can be used to carry passengers. Moreover, it appears that their production will not be resumed in the near future for several reasons.

It is, however, a real sensation that Kremlin leaders are now focusing on the futuristic WIG craft, which were developed in the Soviet era and were likened to alien space ships only a few years ago.
***
Russian experts and officials in charge of awarding new defense contracts have some doubts concerning the use of WIG craft as missile platforms and rescue planes. Their low cost-effectiveness and combat efficiency are the main problem.

First of all, it no longer makes any sense to chase U.S. carrier task forces, which do not threaten Russian territory. Second, long-range cruise missiles or submarine-launched anti-ship cruise missiles can accomplish this objective, if need be. A-40 Albatros (Mermaid) or Beriyev Be-200 flying boats can effectively conduct high-seas rescue operations. Russia, which cannot simultaneously finance both programs, therefore has to choose between them.

Moreover, it is unclear whether WIG craft should be affiliated with the Air Force or the Navy and whether they should be called aircraft or ships. It therefore turns out that nobody needs these unique flying machines.

But many defense industry executives, as well as generals and admirals, reject this approach and believe that WIG craft production is a vital objective for Russia and its armed forces.

Sergei Ivanov recently said in Nizhny Novgorod that WIG craft could also serve as commercial cargo-passenger transport systems, especially if such countries as India, China and insular South East Asian states joined this program.
Earlier posts on WIG here, here and here.

And don't forget Iran has a "stealth" WIG as noted here.

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