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The USSR's Star-Trek VVA-14 Sub Hunter

Updated on February 1, 2015

The first thing that comes to mind is a Klingon or Romulan spacecraft from the iconic Star Trek TV\movie series that first appeared in the 1960s. But this is how the USSR built the design from the Italian designer, Bartini Beriev, hired to design it. The unique thing about this aircraft that flew in the 1970s before Bartini died was that it was amphibious, capable of hovering just about the ocean surface during flight. It was also designed to take off vertically, VTOL.

The sub hunter was designed to hunt down American Polaris submarines lurking beneath during the Cold War years. It had two main jet engines and 12 smaller turbofan engines for hovering and VTOL. Before it was cancelled, it had flown 107 times. The aircraft required three pilots and weighed over 112,000 lbs. It could fly over 400 mph and had a range of 1500 miles. It was to be used for anti-submarine warfare and was armed with ordnance 8800 lbs. / 2 aerial torpedoes / 8 m IGMD-500 and depth charges.. The design did have its development problems. The VTOL capability failed and would need stronger engines, as well as some operational issues. Missions were to include sea/air search and rescue, defense against all kinds of hostile submarines and surface warships, and patrol around the Soviet coastlines.

Just how this aircraft would have been used in combat remains an unknown. It was thought that it could hunt enemy subs by just hovering above the ocean surface, but there were ASW helicopters already that could so that. Having a jet aircraft do this seems odd. The aircraft would have a greater array of ASW weapons to use in much more quantity and it could reach search areas far faster. How well it might hover versus a helicopter might have been a real challenge.


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