Russian beach-goers were shocked when a huge hovercraft glided up onto shore at the beach in Mechnikovo, Kaliningrad on Aug 21.

The landing was reportedly part of a military exercise that was complicated by the sunbathers, who did not have permission to be there.

“Docking at the beach is a regular practice, what we don’t know is what people were doing at the beach, which is within the military firing range,” said Andrey Bespaly, spokesman of the Baltic Fleet Western military district.

The Navy vessel rides on a cushion of air above water, and measures 187 feet in length, according to NPR. It is rumored to have been a ‘Zubr-class’ hovercraft – the world’s largest – and can travel up to 68 miles per hour, normally carrying missile launchers and other weapons. According to witness reports, paratroopers disembarked from the hovercraft upon landing and began clearing the beach.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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  • RobinPaine
    RobinPaine on

    There is a 700 page book, with 450 pictures called 'On a Cushion of Air', ( or and Kindle), which tells the story of Christopher Cockerell's discovery that heavy weights could be supported on a cushion of low pressure air, and the development of the hovercraft by those who were there, from the very early days through to the heyday of the giant 165-ton SRN.4, which crossed the English Channel starting in 1968 carrying 30 cars and 254 passengers at speeds in excess of 75 knots on a calm day. It was subsequently widened to carry 36 cars and 280 passengers with an A.U.W. of 200 tones and was later lengthened to an A.U.W of 325 tons and capable of carrying 55 cars and 424 passengers. The amazing point was that from 165 tons to 325 tons only 400 extra hp was required, although a bit of speed was sacrificed, proving conclusively that Christopher Cockerell's theory was sound.
    Sadly, for economic reasons, the service came to an end on 1st October 2000. In total 6 SR.4s were built and the two remaining ones are in the Hovercraft Museum at Lee-on-Solent. See

  • marahamilton118
    marahamilton118 on

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