Imagine a boat that glides you effortlessly across the waves, no turbulence in the air, no discomfort from the motion of water. It cruises at a speed of at least three times faster than any other boat, getting safely to your destination in a breeze, in greater style and comfort.
From Design to Fulfilment
WIG technology is the novel convergence of marine design and aviation design. It exploits a commonly experienced phenomenon called Ground Effect (GE), which incidentally was the first mode of artificially powered flights known to mankind.
Ground effect is exploited by large bodied birds such as the Albatross to conserve energy in flight. Ground effect has also had a significant contribution to the history of human flight – the first powered flight by the Wright brothers was entirely in ground effect. This effect was also employed during the Second World War, when bombers low on fuel, were able to return safely to their bases by flying close to the ground.
Two main schools of R&D in Wing-in-Ground Effect (WIG) crafts originated from the former Soviet Union and Germany. The former’s school is known as the pioneer of Erkranoplans and the German school is named after a Dr Alexandria Lippisch, inventor of the forward Delta wing design for Messerschmitt rocket powered fighter aircrafts, i.e Me 163.
Rhein-Flugzeugbau GmbH (RFB) pioneered the German concept in Germany in the 1960s. Dr. Alexandria M. Lippisch was then the principal engineer and designer of RFB. Together with Mr. Hanno Fischer, they championed the design and construction of several well-known WIG crafts such as the X-112, X-113 and X-114 for the German defence ministry.
Subsequently, Mr Hanno Fischer and his associate Mr Klaus Matjasic designed and built the Airfish family of WIGs, Airfish 1, Airfish 2, and Airfish 3 from the 1970s to the 1980s, then built the Airfish 8-001 in 1998 to 2000. These are the predecessor of the Airfish 8, a craft that is of our current focus.
WW has modified the original design of AF8-001 and rebuilt two pre-production prototypes, AF8-PPC1 and AF8-PPC2. The composite shells of these two PPC were fabricated in two composite shops in Thailand and Malaysia. AF8-PPC1 was system integrated in Malacca, and made its maiden flight on 1st October 2015 in the Malacca water. AF8-PPC2 was also system integrated in Malacca and made its maiden flight in mid November 2016 at the same place.
It is projected that the combined production of serial craft at these 2 production lines will begin with about 3 ~ 6 crafts in the first year. It is estimated that the market can support an initial production of up to 30 ~ 50 crafts per year for the following 10 years.
Wigetworks has started looking for suitable composite structure manufacturers/boat builders to establish third production line to help increase the production of Airfish 8 units to meet the projected customers’ demand thereafter.
In 2008, the Airfish 8 prototype had undergone extensive sea-trials witnessed by LR’s surveyors and was accepted for entry into Class by Lloyd’s Register. This prototype, subsequently named Airfish 8-001, is the first WIG vessel in the world to be officially registered as merchant vessel with the Singapore Registry of Shipping on 31st March 2010.