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Is it a boat or a plane? Airfish trials in Singapore

Photo: ST Engineering AirFish 8 in operation
The Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is to work with ST Engineering AirX are to trial the Airfish Wing-in-Ground (WIG) craft.

The Airfish 8 developed by AirX, a joint venture between ST Engineering an Peluca, looks like a seaplane but operates just above the water’s surface using ground effect aerodynamics. Ground effect technology is also used in the current generation of Formula 1 racing cars.

As a WIG craft operates just above the water’s surface it is classified as a maritime vessel and is governed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the same collision rules that apply to ships.

Working with the MPA AirX will identify an area off Changi on Singapore's east coast for trials with measures in place to ensure there is no disruption to port operations.

 AirX intends to trial both the single-engine and the dual-engine AirFish 8 prototypes, which can seat up to eight passengers.

“The collaboration is a step towards realising the potential of such technology in areas such as maritime transportation and logistics services,” the MPA said in a statement.

Watch the Airfish 8 in action

WIG is by no means a new technology but has not been successfully commercialized. Peluca, previously known as Widgetworks, has been working on the Airfish for well over a decade and the Airfish-8-001 was officially registered as ship on the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) in March 2010. The vessel was displayed at Harbourfront and at the time the company was targeting its use as a crew transfer vessel.

This year visitors to Singapore Maritime Week 2024 the 10-seater Airfish 8 will be on display to the public at the Vessel Showcase, from 13-14 April 2024 at the Marina South Pier.

The trials of the Airfish 8 will go towards establishing an Engineering and Certification Centre of Excellence for WIG in Singapore which is expected to start up in the third quarter.