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Why did the Soviet Union give up the ‘Flying Submarine’ – the weapon that once made the West so frightened ?

As early as the 1930s, a Russian scientist and engineer Boris Ushacov created a special weapon ‘Flying Submarine’ that terrified the West. However, the project was not widely implemented.


Possessing a weapon capable of reaching the enemy’s location undetected, dealing lightning strikes and returning unscathed is the dream of any industrialized military country in the world. The intention to create such a unique weapon in the 1930s in the Soviet Union was to design a project for a machine that could function as both an airplane and a submarine. Today, the term “flying submarine” sounds a bit odd. However, in the 1930s, militaries all over the world really dreamed of the appearance of this machine. It can move underwater to close to the shores of potential enemies without being detected, leap into the air to drop bombs, then “disappear” into the depths of the ocean.

This idea is of great interest and urgency for modern armed forces. But all fell short of the technical capabilities of the engineering and scientific thinking of the 1930s. However, with great hopes for building a powerful naval fleet, Stalin ordered the idea to be turned into realistic. Very quickly, the first project of this type of weapon appeared in the country. The creator of the project was military engineer Boris Ushacov. During his study at the Dzerzhinski Advanced Institute of Marine Technology from 1934 to 1937, the talented scientist was able to combine aircraft and submarines in a whole on design drawings.


Unique project

In 1934, a marine engineer designed and presented to the leadership of the USSR Defense Industry Committee the first project of a flying submarine. On the surface, it was a powerful seaplane with three engines, equipped with a periscope. The project appraisal lasted 2 years, after which the engineer was invited to the Ministry of National Defense. Here it is stated decisively that his project is very good, attracts attention and needs to be implemented immediately.

Further work on the construction of flying submarines was carried out under the auspices of the Military Scientific Research Committee. But, regrettably, in 1937, when work on the details of the future machine began, it was deemed too complicated and the project was closed. However, Boris Ushacov still has a completely different opinion about his brainchild.

Boris continues to work on the construction of flying submarines himself. The scientist sincerely said that the realization of his project was very necessary for the Soviet navy. Thanks to this machine, it was possible to conduct naval reconnaissance, surprise enemy ships and coastal cities, and excel in overcoming minefields with a leap into the air. Also, all with just 3 flying submarines that can create a barrier to enemy warships over a length of up to 10 km.

The technical side of the flying submarine is well thought out. In the ship there are 6 compartments: three compartments for the arrangement of aircraft engines, followed by the accommodation compartment, the compartment for the battery packs and the propeller electric motor compartment. All flying devices are located in 3 sealed compartments that cannot enter water.

The hull of the flying submarine is made of swingarms, the wings are intended to be made of steel. Sadly, in 1938 when discussing the possibility of building a flying submarine, the government council accepted the project as technically realistic, but closed the project anyway because of the low water speed of the submarine.

Western versions

In the second half of the twentieth century in the West there were similar projects to build flying submarines. Indeed at the project stage they were inferior to Boris Ushacov. In America in 1945, then in the 1960s militaries tried to arrange different flying devices that could be derived from submarines. But no one can build a flying submarine like that. Furthermore, it’s official.

The problem is that the production of weapons of this type is a state secret. Leakage of information to the press in this case is excluded. On the other hand, it should be noted that, since the mid-1960s, the whole world has recorded observations of unidentified flying objects jumping from the water into the air. It is reasonable to assume that these are secret flying submarine designs of the world’s leading countries, although there is currently no factual confirmation for this.

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