Chinese Shipyard Looks to Build Giant Floating Islands

1,000,000 ton battle stations

Floating Island

This CGI shows one of JDG’s floating islands, which is likely the largest 120m X 900M configuration. The floating island can support both civilian and military missions, including supply, landing aircraft and basing of amphibious vehicles.

China, not just satisfied with turning South China Sea reefs into airports, is looking to expand its naval basing activities by building giant floating islands.

Airport and Port

The floating island can be outfitted to accommodate both port terminal facilities, fuel bunkerage and airstrips, raising all sorts of interesting new logistical capabilities. For instance, this air-sea port would be able to be shifted towards disaster zones, with airplanes loading humanitarian relief for quick delivery inland.

JDG’s floating island designs are modular, being assembled from multiple semi-submersible hull sections. They would come in three sizes. The smaller island is 300 meters long and 90 meters wide, the medium sized island is 120 meters wide and 600 meters lond, while the larger island is 900 meters long and 120 meters wide. Assuming a hull draft of around 16 meters, full displacement of the islands could likely be around 400,000 and 1.5 million tons, respectively.

The design though would allow the islands to scale much larger, by attaching more semi-submersible hull modules, just like Lego bricks. Despite the large size of the individual modules, the floating islands could be easily assembled in deep offshore waters by linking together modules transported by semi-submersible heavy lift ships from landbased shipyards.

Joint Mobile Offshore Base

The JMOB was an American proposal in the mid 2000s to use 300m by 150m steel/concrete floating modules to build large ocean going bases. The JMOB was intended to replace bases in places such as Saudi Arabia and Japan, though most JMOB configurations would be much smaller than this maxed out version.

For China, a floating island airbase, besides obvious deployments to disputed islands, could be a new kind of tool for global military projection, notably addressing one of China’s strategic weaknesses compared to the US, its dearth of foreign military bases. In the near future, China could stage anti-piracy missions and humanitarian relief from well stocked floating islands. More forceful uses of floating islands could be temporary or permanent deployments off the waters of potential battlefields.

Full article: Chinese Shipyard Looks to Build Giant Floating Islands (Popular Science)

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