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China first wing-in-ground-effect vehicle completed sea trials

News International-French

4 Jul 2014

It can fly over the sea, and can climb to a height of 150 meters at the the fastest speed of 210 km/h. It's name is "Xiangzhou #1".

"Xiangzhou #1" has applied the composite material wing layout, namely the central wing, outer wing, and horizontal tail wing. The spanwidth is a length of 2.72 meters, and the tangential (longitudinal) average length is 3.125 meters. This design can maximize the ground effect. The outer wing can be more effective in the high altitude outside effecting ground while the tail wing can control the longitudinal balance i.e. the moves such as looking up and looking down.

"In the past, in order to reduce the ship resistance to make it smaller and to make the speed faster when the ship is sailing on the water, people have tried many methods." Professor Dong Zushun of the Chinese Naval University of Engineering, for example, the later developed planing craft, hydrofoil, hovercraft and other ships, "but these ships also have disadvantages, such as that the hydrofoil is easily to produce cavitation, and the hovercraft bump very badly".

The birth of wing-in-ground-effect vehicle has made a new breakthrough in those pioneer explorations. Dong Zushun said, in the boat forward process, there are two driving force: one is the power supplied by the diesel engine, while the other one is the lifting force formed by the ground effect.

Inside the "Xiangzhou #1" cabin, there are 4 rows of seats that can take 7 passengers. The ship has two cabin doors, which are convenient for the entries of passenger and emergency evacuation.

The ground effect allows "Xiangzhou #1" to gain higher speed. The  average "Xiangzhou #1" cruising speed reached up to 140 - 160 km / h, and its maximum speed can reach 210 km/h. This speed is 7-20 times faster than the ordinary ship, and about twice the speed that of the ordinary helicopter. In addition, it is also economical and practical with the characteristics of low oil consumption, strong loading capacity, and endurance.

Because "Xiangzhou #1" needs to withstand the severe impact from the waves on the landing and taking off stages, so it require the marine wing ship hull to have very high strength. Chief designer, CSIC 702nd Institute researcher Yuan Changhua said, "Xiangzhou #1" has applied the advanced foam sandwich composite materials structure, in the key connections there are high strength metallic materials applied. So the strength and stiffness of the structure are good. In addition, the design difficulty of the "Xiangzhou #1" has also been reflected in its stability, flying close to the water surface needs high stability, and flying at a high altitude also needs to be stable. This requires a more comprehensive consideration in the design".

In Dong Zushun's view, "Xiangzhou #1" is the third generation of wing in ground effect craft.

Original language Chinese