Thanks to Hangar B Productions for producing the incredible VVA-14 models used in this video.
As an aircraft designer, physicist, astronomer, philosopher, painter and musician, Robert Bartini is often described as a genius ahead of his time. Throughout his life, he designed over 60 aircraft and made significant contributions to Soviet aviation.
Although most of Bartini’s aircraft designs never left the drawing board, many of his aeronautical innovations were incorporated into production aircraft. In 1965, Bartini was given a rare opportunity to realize the full potential of one of his concepts. With the emergence of American Polaris missile submarines, the Soviet Union needed a new kind of aircraft to respond. Bartini proposed building the ultimate submarine hunter.
Designated as the VVA-14, it would be a truly unique and innovative aircraft. With a catamaran-like fuselage it would be optimized to fly within the ground effect (like other ekranoplan of the era), giving it endurance needed to fly long-range missions. It would also have wings so that it could fly like a conventional airplane if needed. Bartini would equip the VVA-14 with both a conventional landing gear for runways and a unique inflatable pontoon system to give it amphibious capabilities.
Ten lift jets would allow for vertical take-off and landings (VTOL) from any kind of surface, giving the aircraft the ability to operate from the even most harsh and remote regions of the Soviet Union. Development would stretch nearly a decade, but like Bartini himself, the VVA-14’s design would end up being a little too ahead of it’s time.