The only surviving prototype of this unusual plane now sits dilapidated in a field near Moscow, but it was once the hope of the Soviet Union against US submarine attacks. The Bartini Beriev VVA-14 – the letters are an acronym for “vertical take-off amphibious aircraft” and 14 was the number of engines – was designed to take off from anywhere without a runway and to be capable of sustained flight just above the water surface. Designed in the 1960s, the aircraft was a response to the Polaris ballistic missiles. The United States introduced them in 1961 on its submarine fleet as part of its nuclear deterrent. In the mind of its designer, Robert Bartini, the amphibious VVA-14 would be the perfect machine to seek and destroy the missile-carrying submarines. The plan, however, didn’t pan out. Only two of the proposed three prototypes were ever built, and only one was ever flown. When Bartini died, in 1974, the project died with him, and the second prototype was dismantled. The first, mostly intact, was sent in 1987 to the Central Air Force Museum near Moscow, but something went wrong with the delivery. The aircraft was looted and damaged, and it hasn’t been repaired since. Quelle: ‘CNN‘.