China using ground effect aircraft to strengthen its claim in the South China Sea

Test flight of 2 ground effect vehicles in formation

Test flight of 2 ground effect vehicles in formation

The following is based on a translation from Chinese media:

China reported some time ago that it was developing large ground effect vehicles as a means of transport between China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.

In this way, China hopes to strengthen its claim on the South China Sea

A ground effect vehicle is something between a boat and aircraft, and attains level flight near the surface of the Earth.

It takes off from and lands on water with a speed of 200 km/hr, slower than an aircraft but much faster than a boat. The Soviet Union was the first to develop such a vehicle called the Caspian Monster.

It has the advantages of consuming much less fuel but not so much slower than an aircraft. It is seen as an ideal cheap means of travel for the development of tourism on China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.

According to huanqiu.com, seeing the benefit of such a means of travel, Hainan Province has succeeded in developing a small ground effect vehicle, the CYG-11, with a range of 1,500 km and a speed of 200 km/hr.

It is able to carry 1,200 kg cargo or 12 passengers. The vehicle consumes 28 litres of fuel per 100 km, which China says is quite impressive. It costs between $2.5 and $3 million to build.

As Hainan Province has conducted test flight of two such vehicles in formation, it seems the vehicle will soon be put into service for travel to the artificial islands.

China says this will go a long way to strengthening its claim in the South China Sea.

A ground effect vehicle sailing in water

A ground effect vehicle sailing on water

A ground effect vehicle on shore

A ground effect vehicle on shore

Source: huanqiu.com – “Test flight of homegrown ground effect vehicles in formation in Hainan Province” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

 



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