As high performance marine vessels with improved performance characteristics are being requested by governments (DARPA 2015) and commercial operators, the Aerodynamically Alleviated Marine Vehicle (AAMV) provides a solution that combines speeds typical of rotary-wing and light fixed-wing aircraft with payload and loitering ability found in current high speed craft. The innovative AAMV hybrid aero-marine platform utilizes an alternative implementation of wing-in-ground effect (WIG), a proven technology with a fascinating history of high speed marine operation.
This paper outlines some challenges and the work completed towards the development of a hybrid class of vessel that is able to bridge the maritime-to-air domain, comfortably operating in the water surface yet still delivering the speed of aircraft during an airborne cruise phase. An overview of current WIG design is briefly presented, leading to the conceptual approach for the AAMV. Development and assessment of the aerodynamic properties of the lifting surfaces are shown, with analysis of several wing profiles and their effect on the total lift force, drag force, and pitching moment that directly influence the stability characteristics of the vehicle. A methodology for sizing an appropriate platform is summarized, along with experimental results of a high speed hullform with characteristics suitable for this intended application. Finally, particulars of a potential AAMV are derived using an iterative numerical method and briefly compared to current craft.
For close to a century, the influence of ground effect has promised economy for low-skimming flight over smooth water (Raymond 1921), a promise that has yet to reach its full potential.