AirFish Wing-in-Ground Craft by ST Engineering AirX

What you see here is AirFish, a wing-in-ground craft by ST Engineering AirX, a joint venture of ST Engineering and Peluca (formerly Wigetworks). The young JV works to continue to build on Wigetworks’ AirFish family of Wing-in-Ground craft.

AirFish Wing-in-Ground Craft by ST Engineering AirX

Widgetworks obtained the licenses to produce AirFish, which was based on Dr Alexander Martin Lippisch’s reverse delta wing design, from Airfoil Development GmbH (AFD). Wing-in-Ground (WIG) vehicles are not a new concept, by the way.

The concept is about 50 years old and there have been attempts to commercialize and militarize it but I believe up till now, none has proven to be commercially viable.

For the uninitiated, the WIG craft is essentially a hybrid of a boat and an aircraft. It has the form of a plane (well, mostly) but travels on water – or above water, to be precise. These vehicles use the aerodynamic principle of “ground effect” to travel above the water.

AirFish Wing-in-Ground Craft by ST Engineering AirX

Because it travels a few meters above the water, it has no resistance from the water like traditional boats, and therefore it can travel at very high speeds while saving on fuel.

ST Engineering AirX here plays the part of an original equipment manufacturer of the AirFish series of craft and commercializes it. And commercializes they did.

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At the recent Singapore Airshow 2024, ST Engineering announced that AirX has signed an LOI with Eurasia Mobility Solutions for an order of up to 10 AirFish Wing-in-Ground Crafts with options for 10 more. AirX will customize and deliver 10-seater AirFish 8 to Eurasia Mobility Solutions progressively from 2025 to serve Turkey’s tourism and private transportation sectors.

AirFish Wing-in-Ground Craft by ST Engineering AirX

The benefits of a WIG craft are obvious: it is fast, sustainable, and does not require a port or runway. As far as AirFish 8 goes, it can carry up to 10 people including crews, or up to 1,000 kg (about 2,200 lbs) of cargo, reaching speeds up to 90 knots (104 mph or 167 km/h).

It is touted as an alternative to ferries, helicopters, and seaplanes for public transport, logistics, and potential military uses.

Images: ST Engineering/Widgetworks.