Iranian light ekranoplanes[1], via Theo Spark, Ace, and several others. The best view is at LiveLeak, though watch out — like most LL videos it starts immediately.

The utility of the machines as weapons in a restricted waterway should be apparent. Several people, including the inventors, have suggested that they need only to be fitted with sea-skimmer missiles to be a threat to shipping, including military vessels, but really that isn’t necessary and might not be practical. Missiles powerful enough to be a threat tend to be rather larger and heavier than something like what is shown could carry. The real threat would be fitting them with warheads and having the pilots kamikaze them in, or sending unmanned ones in via remote control.

But that’s all by the way, although it’s something that should be considered. The real impact is that I can hardly think of a single redneck who could see that clip and not think, “Dayum, I gotta get me one of them things!” If the Iranians could dump the mullahs and Ahmadinejad, they have a ready-made product that could earn foreign exchange in the “luxury extreme sports” market that moves two-liter motorcycles and 1000+ HP powerboats. There is always hope for the future, though it is sometimes not visible through the pessimistic fog.


[1] Also known as “Wing In Ground Effect”, WIG or WIGE. Some views of others, along with (occasionally misleading) discussion of the technology, can be found at Dark Roasted Blend here and here.

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