Technically, it’s SSSR-v6 OSOAVIAKhIM, a Soviet-built seni-rigid airship designed by Umberto Nobile, an Italian aviator and inventor who was, after 1928, on the outs with Mussolini and was in exile in Russia. The name is from the acronym for the Volunteer Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Fleet…original, as only bureaucrats can be.


The ship is centered on a keel from stem to stern, and an envelope that has smaller gas cells inside — it’s part blimp, part dirigible. SSSR-V6 is based heavily on Nobile’s previous airships, Norge and Italia, which he used for polar exploration in the mid to late 1920s. It is, through the 1930s, the Soviet Union’s largest airship and most successful, until her loss in 1938.

At 344′ long, she has a total displacement of 685,000 sq.ft. — about a quarter the size of USS Los Angeles or Graf Zeppelin. It is, however, quite light, and only loses 3 tons of her total 13 ton lifting capacity, and is powered by three 190hp gasoline engines that can reach a face-peeling 58mph.

SSSR-V6: Size: 16   Def: 10   Strc: 10   Spd: 60   Ceil: 8,000′   Han: -2   Crew: 15