Legendary Soviet passenger hydrofoil gets a new lease of life

With a maximum speed of 60 km/h, the Kometa is faster than most passenger ships.

With a maximum speed of 60 km/h, the Kometa is faster than most passenger ships.

A Kometa picking up tourists on the island of Kizhi in 1983. Semyon Maisterman/TASS
Russia is planning to unveil an upgraded version of the Kometa.
The Kometa is a passenger hydrofoil that was designed in the USSR in the early 1960s.
It was one of the first Soviet hydrofoil ships to be used for a passenger service. While the Rocket was used for transportation on rivers, the Kometa was made for the sea
Experts say the Kometa, which means comet in Russian, is one of the most successful passenger hydrofoils in the world.
One ship is operated by five crewmembers and can carry up to 120 people
The ships were exported to Greece, China, Poland, Yugoslavia, East Germany, Thailand, Albania, and Italy. They are still in operation in some countries.
During the 1992 Abkhazia-Georgia conflict, a Russian Kometa was struck by a rocket that was launched from a helicopter. Despite having a hole below its waterline, the hydrofoil managed to operate at full speed and reach a port.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, many Kometa ships were converted into bars and restaurants.
The biggest drawbacks of the Kometa are its high fuel consumption and maintenance costs
The Kometa-120M, a new passenger hydrofoil ship, is being developed in Russia. The ship, which has been named Gull, will cost more than $6 million.
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