Singapore’s Wigetworks readies production-spec Airfish 8 WIG craft
Jane’s 360, 9 April 2018
Wigetworks, a Singapore-based firm specialising in wing-in-ground effect (WIG) technology research and development (R&D), is aiming to finalise the design of the production-ready version of its Airfish 8 (AF8) WIG craft prototype by the end of 2018 and is preparing to commence production when a launch customer is secured, company officials told Jane’s.
The AF8 is a 17 m Type A-class WIG craft with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 5,550 kg and constructed from carbon and glass-fibre reinforced plastic sandwich material featuring a reverse delta wing airframe and has an overall height and wingspan of 3.5 m and 15 m respectively.
The craft will be powered by a pair of 550hp-class General Motors LS3 petrol engines, which drive reversible variable pitch propellers that enable it to achieve a maximum speed of 120 kt (222 km/h), although it typically cruises at speeds of 80–90 kt. Maximum range is quoted as 300 n miles when equipped with a standard fuel tank.
In its standard configuration, the AF8 can accommodate a two-person flight crew and up to eight passengers, although it can also be configured to transport a 1,150 kg payload inclusive of fuel. The craft has a draught of only 0.5 m when fully laden, enabling it to operate and berth close to shore with minimal support or infrastructure.
Utilising the WIG effect, the craft primarily cruises at altitudes of 1–3 m while being supported by a field of high-pressure air beneath its wings and above the water surface, although it can also perform manoeuvres up to an altitude of 7 m when necessary, such as avoiding obstacles.