AVIC is conducting a proof of concept review into the costs and technology related to the development of a large-sized ground effect vehicle.
A model in the AVIC hall at the Zhuhai shows the scale model of a large ground effect vehicle powered by four turbojet engines mounted on canards behind the vehicle's cockpit.
The review will eventually be assessed by AVIC's leadership, who will decide if the company wants to pursue the development of this technology. Harnessing the "ground effect" phenomenon allows a vehicle to operate metres above the ocean, and travel at speeds far greater than the fastest conventional vessel.
An AVIC representative says that the technology is more applicable to China than to Russia, which experimented with large ground effect vehicles during the Cold War.
He notes that China has more islands than Russia, namely Hainan Island, and a ground effect vehicle might be a more effective way to carry passengers and cargo from the mainland than conventional ferries or aircraft. High speed ground effect vehicles could also be of use in China's Pearl River Delta, which has dozens of high speed ferry routes.
One issue with the technology could be certification, because ground effect vehicles operate in the boundary between the water space and airspace.