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Flying boat of French Marine commandos to be tested by end of 2020.

| 2020

On the occasion of the SOFINS 2018 exhibition dedicated to special forces, the French company SEAir presented an innovation called "AirShark 765" : a boat that can rise 10 cm above water level thanks to retractable foils. Laurent Lagneau reports on ZoneMilitaire/Opex 360.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001

AirShark 765 (Picture source: SEAir)

"Flying boats respond to a real problem in the field encountered by special forces: reducing human trauma and preserving the on-board equipment thanks to the great stability provided by the flight of a boat 20cm above the water", SEAir argued at the time. Furthermore, such a concept also makes it possible to navigate at higher speeds, to increase the range thanks to fuel savings of around 30% and to improve both the stability of the boat [ which is always useful for precise shots] and stealth, with reduced wake and engine noise.

In addition, among other technologies necessary for this concept [in particular on-board electronics], SEAir had indicated using 3D printing to produce the foils of this "AirShark 765".

Since then, the idea of SEAir has been taken up by Fusco b, the incubator created by the French marines (fusiliers marins et commandos) [FORFUSCO] in order to optimize innovations likely to find an operational translation.

Hence the EFLyCO project which, conducted in partnership with the Innovation Defense Lab and SEAir, aims to develop a new model of the Commando's TRAnsport Craft [ETRACO] equipped with foils for the nautical raids of Marine Commandos.

“Water raids can be long and physically taxing due to the collision between the boat and the water. The EFLyCO project aims to improve the current boat by equipping it with foils, which generate lift, which allow the boat to be lifted about twenty centimeters above the water surface. The impact of waves even greater than one meter is then very much reduced, thus preserving the crew, "explains the Defense Innovation Agency.

The foils that will equip the EFlyCo will be made of carbon and steel, which will allow them to withstand a load of 5 tonnes ... and therefore a structural deformation of 4 cm at the ends. “The foils can be oriented during navigation like a flap on an airplane wing. The EFlyCO project also made it possible to develop a concept of retractable foils under the hull, which is the subject of a patent application, "AID said.

Compared to the AirShark 765, the fuel economy that the FlyCo can achieve will be slightly less [in the order of 20%]. Regardless, this foiled ETRACO is due to be launched by the end of 2020. It will then remain to validate its performance with a view, no doubt, of an upcoming commissioning, Laurent Lagneau concludes.

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