China seeks 100 passenger Wing in Ground Effect Ekranoplan and larger seaplanes for South China Sea

China is in talks to buy an unknown number of A-050 ekranoplan or ground effect vehicle, the most advanced version of the Lun-class ekranoplan.

The A-050 has a maximum takeoff weight of 54 tons and a loading capacity of nine tons. It can carry up to 100 passengers. With an effective range of 5,000 kilometers, the cruising speed of the A-050 ekranoplan is estimated at between 350 and 450 kilometers an hour. The ekranoplan may be fitted with a R-195 starting engines similar to those used by Su-25 bombers and TV7-117SM boosters on the Il-114.

The A-050 will be armed with cruise missiles.

Russia had an MD-160 with 100 ton capacity. It entered service with the Black Sea Fleet in 1987. It was retired in the late 1990s

Given similar hull size and power, the reduced lift-induced drag experienced by a ground effect craft will improve its fuel efficiency over that of a similar aircraft, and less power will be required for similar speed up to a point. The difference is dependent on the specific design of the ground effect vehicle. They are also much faster for a given amount of power than similar surface vessels, as drag from contact with the water is eliminated.

There have been gigantic wing in ground effect designs from the UK, USA and Russia.

The Boeing Pelican ULTRA (Ultra Large TRansport Aircraft) was a proposed ground effect fixed-wing aircraft under study by Boeing Phantom Works.

It was intended as a large-capacity transport craft for military or civilian use, it would have a wingspan of 500 feet (150 m), a cargo capacity of 1,400 tons (1,300 metric tonnes), and a range of about 10,000 nautical miles (18,000 km). Powered by four turboprop engines, its main mode would be to fly in ground effect 20–50 ft (6–15 m) over water, though it would also be capable of overland flight at an altitude as high as 20,000 ft (6,100 m) albeit with a decreased range of about 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km).

China building fifty passenger seaplanes now

China is building about 100 fifty passenger seaplanes. The first flight was initially forecast for 2015 but was postponed until 2016

China Aviation Industry General Aircraft has received 17 orders from domestic companies. One of the buyers will use it to carry tourists to reefs and islands in the South China Sea. The AG-600 will play an important role in forest fire control, maritime search and rescue, personnel and supply transport and law enforcement tasks at sea.

The plane can fly a round trip between Sanya in Hainan province and the shoal of Zengmu Ansha, the southernmost point of China’s territory, without refueling.

The AG-600 can carry 50 people during a maritime search and rescue mission. To extinguish forest fires, it can take on 12 metric tons of water from a lake or sea within 20 seconds and pour it on the fire.

Powered by four turboprop engines, it will be the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, surpassing Japan’s ShinMaywa US-2 and Russia’s Beriev Be-200

It will have a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 tons and an operational range of about 4,500 kilometers.

SOURCES – WantChinatimes, China Daily, Wikipedia