A modern ship that ended up scrapped 5 years after its delivery

The old amphibian port of the Spanish Navy in El Carmolí, base of the VCA-36 hovercraft

Writing this blog, I often come across very interesting and unknown information, and in the most unexpected way. This is what happened to me today.

A tour of the Calamocha airfield, a former Ju-87 Stukas base in Spain
Cornwall: an airfield with old Harrier fighters and other derelict aircraft

Searching for content on abandoned aerodromes, I found an interesting video of a British citizen who lives in the Spanish town of Mazarrón (Murcia Region). This man has a Youtube channel, Expat in Mazarrón, in which he recounts his experiences in Spain. A year ago he published a video about the old El Carmolí airfield, used by the Air Force of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War, and later used by the Spanishg Air Force, until -as happened with other aerodromes of that war- was converted into a civil aerodrome in 1943 and finally abandoned. Today it is in ruins:

If it were limited to that, the video itself would be interesting, but the big surprise came when at the end, this man starts talking about an old hovercraft base located nearby. Hovercraft? I have been a fan of military issues for many years and this is the first news I have of something like this in Spain. Searching for information I found three articles on this basis in the Revista Naval, the newspaper La Verdad and the blog De Otro Timepo.

Images of the tests of the VCA-36 hovercraft of the Spanish Navy in 1989 (Photo: Revista Naval).

In the mid-1970s, the company CHACONSA, specializing in machinery for the canning industry, began experimenting to manufacture hovercrafts. The Spanish Navy began to show interest in these projects and small-sized hovercraft began to be designed. Finally, in 1986 CACHONSA built a 25.17 meter long hovercraft for the Navy, the VCA-36, whose tests were carried out at the Sierra del Retín Training Field (CASR), and also in the amphibian port El Carmolí, ceded by the Spanish Air Force to the Navy in December 1989, coinciding with the official delivery to the Navy of the VCA-36. You can see here a video of the tests carried out that year:

Unfortunately, and although the hovercraft reached a good speed (65 knots, about 100 km/h), the ship suffered considerable wear and the project ended up being discarded after an investment of 2,500 million pesetas and 12 years of research. Finally, in February 1994 the Ministry of Defense gave the order to scrap the VCA-36 and return the El Carmolí amphibian port to the Air Force. Today it is abandoned and with the hangar in ruins.

You can see below some interesting screenshots of the Expat in Mazarrón video. We start with a view ofthe ruins of the old El Carmolí airfield:

The interior of the old powder keg of the airfield, dug into the side of a volcano. The author of the video did not manage to reach the end since he did not have a flashlight at hand. I can't wait for the friends of Aventuras Entresierras to get there and do one of the great videos about it.

The runways at the El Carmolí amphibian port. I haven't found any information about it, but I wonder if this was once a seaplane base.

The hangar at the El Carmolí amphibian port, currently in ruins.

You can see under these lines the location of the amphibian port on Google Maps:

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