A Photographer Snuck Inside the Soviet Ekranoplan, See What It Looks Like Inside

Photographer Lana Sator managed to sneak inside the "aircraft carrier killer" to take the images.
Chris Young

Earlier this month, it was announced that Russia will be museumizing its missile-carrying Project 903 Lun class Ekranoplan.

As the impressive beast has not been used in decades, it will be put on display in Patriot Park in the city of Derbent in the Russian republic of Dagestan.

One brave urban explorer, called Lana Sator, snuck inside to take some pretty stunning shots, the results of which can be seen below.


A beast that soared above the waves

The Soviet Ekranoplan is the only nuclear-capable, ground-effect vehicle in the world. The formerly top-secret naval vessel had the capability to buzz just above the waves, using eight Kuznetsov NK-87 turbofan engines, in order to avoid radar detection as well as anti-ship mines. 

The vessel, which flew thanks to a cushion of pressure caused by the so-called 'ground-effect', was also equipped with six launchers along its spine capable of launching small nuclear missiles that could destroy an entire aircraft carrier.

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Увидеть экраноплан "Лунь" изнутри - это было целью моего спонтанного возвращения в Дагестан. Редко рассказываю истории возникновения идей прогулок, подготовки и процесса, - но, может быть, именно такого контента здесь не хватает? Впрочем, инстаграм не так хорош для лонгридов, текст разбит на части и помещён в комментарии. Продублирую на английском, как обычно. Фотки снаружи, если кто не видел, - во вчерашнем посте. Seeing "Lun" ekranoplane from the inside was the main purpose of my spontaneous return to Dagestan. I rarely tell stories of ideas for walks, preparation and exploration process - but maybe this is the kind of content that is missing here? However, instagram isn't so good for longread, - the text is broken down into parts and placed in comments. ?? English text in comments below.

Una publicación compartida de Lana Sator (@lanasator) el

Despite the Ekranoplan's impressive capabilities, its construction coincided with the fall of the Soviet Union, meaning it has somewhat of an action-free history.

A dangerous expedition

Still, while it currently lies in wait to be shipped to Derbent, photographer Lana Sator was able to sneak inside with a friend and two watertight bags full of photography equipment.

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 ? #ls_drone

Una publicación compartida de Lana Sator (@lanasator) el

As Sator explained to Rferl, taking the illicit photographs was not an easy undertaking. When they snuck aboard, Sator and her friend were frightened to see a guard, before realizing that he was sleeping over the low buzz of a generator placed on the vessel.

The result of Sator's trip is one of the most impressive examples of urban exploration we've ever seen — be sure to check out all the pics by scrolling left on the Instagram posts above. For more impressive abandoned buildings and vehicles, have a look at our list of abandoned structures here.

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