During some research for a book I'm writing the word 'ekranoplan' came up. It's the Russian for ground force and was mentioned in reference to the radical aircraft, the KM, of 1966. This enormous mutant aircraft was designed to be too heavy to fly conventionally, but could carry huge loads, much bigger than conventional cargo planes of the day, because it used the pressure of ground force to keep it above the surface of the sea. It was the world's largest plane for it's whole lifespan, and only bettered by the Antonov AN-225 Mriya, an enormous, but regular aircraft that first flew in 1988.
US spy planes spotted it being tested on the Caspian Sea and gave it the nickname, Caspian Sea Monster. It wasn't the only Soviet ekranoplan, but it is the most incredible. Later iterations showed it laden with, and using, top-mounted missile launchers. It seems the monster crashed due to pilot error in 1980 and sunk without chance of retrieval. More recently Boeing were toying with GEV, ground effect vehicles, with the Pelican ULTRA, a not to distant relative of the KM, that never progressed beyond the drawing board. G