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Friday, April 22, 2022

A tragic ending of the Soviet submarine-hunting monster

~Ended in Vain~ The unique shaped airplane was not only the result of current technological developments, it turns out that some of them actually come from the past, such as the following unique amphibian aircraft developed by Soviet-era engineers starting in the 1960s. The unique seaplane in question is the Bartini-Beriev VVA-14 (VVA stand for Vertikaľno-Vzletayushchaya Amfibiya) which created by Soviet-era engineers as one of the military defence equiptments operated in the Red-Bear country's borders.
The Bartini-Beriev VVA-14 ground effect aircraft dreamt of dominating world for the Soviet Union. (Picture from: Autoevolution)
Robert Ludvigovich
Bartini (1897 - 1974).

(Picture from: Wikipedia)
The amphibian plane was projected as a submarine hunter with the ability to take off and land vertically from anywhere whether on land, water, sand or ice. Of course, you also know that the VVA-14 seaplane was part of the arms race during the Cold War era, with the implementation of extraordinary and ambitious design ideas. This aircraft is made to deal with threats from the depths of the sea and prevent the  submarine's nuclear missile attacks.
The Bartini-Beriev VVA-14 ground effect aircraft in its hey day had made more than 107 tests with 103 flight hours in Taganrog Gulf waters, but never been produced and ceased for good in the 1976. (Picture from: WarHistoryOnline)
As quoted from the Warhistoryonline, the VVA-14 seaplane has main-task to detect, search  and destroy US submarines if they approached the Soviet Union's borders. The plane was given the name Bartini Beriev VVA-14 in honor of its creator Robert Ludvigovich Bartini or Roberto Oros di Bartini (at least it was the name written on his tombstone), a famous Italian designer who lived and served for Soviet Union.
The Bartini-Beriev VVA-14 ground effect aircraft is built based on the design of Robert Ludvigovich Bartini in the 1960s to face the threat of missile attacks with the nuclear warheads launched of the US' submarines along the Soviet Union's coastlines. (Picture from: Autoevolution)
Robert Bartini is known to have long been fascinated by flyingboats and aircraft capable of landing on water, and had first built a prototype twin-engine seaplane intended for Arctic reconnaissance called DAR in 1934. However, in the 1962, he presented a designs called the MVA-62T Concept as a seaplane focusing on an ekranoplan (a plane that can fly very close to the surface of the water or land by utilizing a principle called the ground effect).
The Bartini-Beriev VVA-14 (in pictured was a scaled model) was an aircraft that could take off vertically, hover in mid air, land on any surface, cruise at high altitudes and harness the ground effect. (Picture from: Autoevolution)
On its way, the MVA-62T Concept managed to convince the Soviet's high ranks military generals because it is considered as one of the suitable solutions to deal with the threat of missile attacks with the nuclear warheads launched of the US' submarines along the country's coastlines and was later used as the basis to develop and build the VVA-14 seaplane with assumed that it would be used to handle the task of detecting enemy multi-purpose submarines and missiles, besides capable to be used also to carry out search and rescue operations at sea.
The Bartini-Beriev VVA-14 (in pictured was a scaled model) is constructed with an extra-wide body that includes two fuselage compartments that each have their own empennage at the rear. (Picture from: Autoevolution)
The VVA-14 seaplane is manned by three personels and is powered by two bypass turbojet Soloviev D-30M engines and 12 lift jets (each one generating about 10,000 lbs of thrust) allowing the aircraft to have a maximum speed of 760 kph with a flight coverage as far as of 2,450 km in the altitude of 8,000–10,000 meters. And as a military purpose aircraft with the main-task as the submarine hunter, of course it should has capability to carry anti-submarine weaponry systems consisting of naval torpedoes, mines, and depth charges (said it could  load up to 2 tons of armament).
The Bartini-Beriev VVA-14 (in pictured was a scaled model) is powered by two Soloviev D-30M turbofan engines  and 12 lift turbofans allowing the aircraft to have a maximum speed of 760 kph with a flight coverage as far as of 2,450 km in the altitude of 8,000–10,000 meters. (Picture from: Autoevolution)
Reportedly, the VVA-14 was the only plane designed by Bartini that he could see flying in person, as the others he couldn't see because he was in prison most of the time (eyewitnesses said he had tears in his eyes at the time). Unfortunately during the first flight test, a number of flaws were revealed, such as there were a trouble for the installation of the plane's lifting machine for vertical take-off and inflatable pontoon which later fixed by him.😢 As the result, there was a design change in 1974, along with the installation of an inflatable pontoon, which then replaced by a rigid pontoon.
The remnant of the Bartini-Beriev VVA-14 without wings in front of the Central Museum of the Air Forces in Monino, east Moscow. (Picture from: WarHistoryOnline)
Meanwhile, the plane's lift engines to take off vertically was never shown to be installed. Nevertheless the VVA-14 amphibian aircraft prototype had made more than 107 tests with 103 flight hours in Taganrog Gulf waters, where the aircraft testing was also conducted in ekranoplan mode. Unfortunately on December 6, 1974, Robert Bartini died at the age of 77 and was buried in Vvedenskoye cemetery in Moscow. After Bartini's death, the project still run (much slower) for more two years till it's ceased permanently in the 1976.😭
In 1987, the Bartini-Beriev VVA-14 prototype was brought to the Central Museum of the Air Forces in Monino, east Moscow and remained there to this day, where it ended up in vain like a no-wings plane wreckage. At present, the ambitious project result of the genius aircraft designer became a sad spectacle. In 2013, there was a group of fans trying to restore the VVA-14 seaplane, but the effort was unsuccessful.🕊️ *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | WARHISTORYONLINE | AUTOEVOLUTION | WIKIPEDIA ]
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