Tests of the Orion-25 ekranoplane have begun

Sections: Air, Sea, New development

According to the head of Petrozavodsk Valery Lyubarsky, tests of a prototype of the Orion-25 ekranoplane developed by the Moscow company "Ekranoplanostroitelnoe Association "EO "Orion" and built in Petrozavodsk at the Petrozavodsk Engineering Plant "Avangard" LLC (former shipbuilding plant) have begun on Lake Onega in Petrozavodsk Bay.

The prototype of the Orion-25 ekranoplane developed by the "Ekranoplanostroitelny Association "EO "Orion" on tests on Lake Onega, February 2023 (c) a frame from the video of the TV channel "Russia-1"The Orion-25 ekranoplane project is being implemented by the developer without much publicity.

Detailed specifications are not disclosed, it is stated only that the device should have a mass of about 14 tons (it is unclear whether empty or take-off) and the ability to transport up to 30 passengers with a maximum speed of up to 500 km / h at a distance of up to 3600 km, with a flight duration of up to 11 hours. Reported. that representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia were invited to the tests.

Structurally, the Orion-25 is a development with an increase in the size of the Orion-20 spacecraft previously created by the Orion EO, having a similar scheme with two turboprop engines (of an unnamed type) installed in front of the fuselage with pulling screws, and, according to a number of reports, the project was first designated as Orion-20M. The initial Orion-20 project was implemented earlier by order and with funding from the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia and was actively proposed by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia. The only prototype of the Orion-20 ekranoplane was also built in Petrozavodsk at the Avangard plant and began testing on Lake Onega in March 2014. The Orion-20 was equipped with two Czech Walter M601E turboprop engines in front of the fuselage, then supplemented with one TVD-10B turboprop engine on a rack at the top of the fuselage. The device had a wingspan of 20.6 m, a length of 22.2 m and a take-off weight of 13 tons with a declared payload of up to 3 tons (or 20 passengers).

On August 1, 2015, the Orion-20 ekranoplane crashed on Lake Onega during tests. In 2017, it was announced the resumption of testing of the repaired prototype, but the current state of the program is unknown. This ekranoplane was also offered in a modernized version under the code of the Sterkh-10 project, but it was not implemented.

EO "Orion" was created in 1998 by natives of the Central Design Bureau of the R.E. Alekseev SEC, trying to continue work on the ekranoplan theme. To date, according to the bureau's projects, more than 20 small Orion-10, Orion-12 and Orion-14 types of ekranoplanes have been built (at the Volga and Avangard plants). The Federal Border Service of the FSB of Russia in the early 2010s received seven Orion-12P devices and two more were delivered to Iran in 2014. Six Orion-14 vehicles have also been delivered to Iran since 2016. However, the accident of the Orion-20 ekranoplane once again showed the fundamental insecurity of operating devices of this type, which apparently led to the cooling of state customers to the company's projects.

The prototype of the Orion-25 ekranoplane developed by the Ekranoplan Building Association EO Orion. Petrozavodsk, February 2023 (c) Valery LyubarskyVideo:

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