China develops a ‘flying ship’

Inspenet, April 18, 2023

Building on Soviet developments of ekranoplane ships using so-called ‘ground effect’, China has developed a ‘flying ship’, designed to deal with the harsh conditions of the South China Sea.

The vehicle can travel at a speed of up to 240 km/h and is capable of carrying 12 passengers thanks to its ability to move on the surface of the sea using a propeller motor and gain support from the air with its wings. So far, it has already passed more than 30 sea trials.

“Compared with amphibious aircraft or previous generations of aircraft, this third generation ‘ground effect’ vehicle with high wave resistance has been significantly improved in terms of seaworthiness,” Shi Yajun was quoted as saying by local media, who works in the China Scientific Research Center, entrusted with the development of the 4.5-tonne ship.

The ‘flying ship’ is expected to be used for maritime rescues, as well as search missions and airdropping supplies on islands and beaches. This device could quickly reach the scene of an accident and remain near the surface for long periods while an investigation is carried out, using its onboard detection devices.

It could also land in nearby waters and navigate to the casualty site, or glide over the target and accurately drop lifesaving equipment and emergency supplies.

Shi said the vehicle would be part of a rapid transportation network between Hainan Island and Chinese-controlled archipelagos in the South China Sea, providing important support for the country’s maritime strategy in the Southeast Asia region.

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Photo : Weibo

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