The survivalists of Whalebone Bay have reported large machines that seem part ship and part aeroplane flying just above the sea. Though initially treated with scepticism, consistencies in their accounts suggest the CMIC operates at least one Triton-class ekranoplane. These vehicles were designed to carry heavy payloads at high speeds; they can travel over marshland, ice and open water while avoiding submerged obstacles. It is not known if these positives will offset their high deployment costs.
- Stepped hull allows the Triton to land and float on any large body of water, eliminating the need for runways and reducing dangers posed by engine loss or fuel starvation.
- Fuselage can accommodate up to 20 tons of equipment or 200 passengers. The main cargo deck is wide and low to increase stability.
- Eight jet engines are mounted above and in front of the wings, which are proportionately smaller than those seen on an aeroplane; but they provide more lift due to jet thrust passing over them and increased air pressure under them. Maximum payload is increased at the cost of a slight reduction in speed.
- Low operating altitudes (a few metres above sea level) help the Triton avoid surface radar. The large pod on the tailfin houses surveillance, communication and jamming devices.
- While originally conceived as a high speed transport, the Triton can be refitted for marine rescue, extraction, long range patrol or fast strike roles. This example carries paired cannons in fore and aft gun turrets and four forward-firing missile tubes.
- Cabin is heavily insulated against engine noise, though this remains considerable. The standard crew consists of two pilots, a navigator and signaller. Additional flight engineers, gunners, observers, etc. can be carried if required.
- As ekranoplanes cannot bank as steeply as conventional aircraft their pilots require specialised training. This, combined with the Triton’s mass, necessitate slow rates of turn especially at higher speeds.
Footage of actual craft that work on these principles can be seen here: [link]