The Argentic is a ground-effect multi-mission plane concept. In fact, it officially classifies as a maritime ship since it flies very close to the water or the ground. It’s also known as a wing-in-surface-effect ship (WISE), and it’s a follow-up to the Nunavik concept I created in February 2014.
I think we should explore this type of technology (WISE) more to carry out missions near coastal lines, transport personnel, or ferry cargo. Ground-effect vehicles have been around for a period of time (see video) and the fact that they consume 50% less fuel than similarly-sized aircraft is probably a good argument in their favour. Furthermore, the precision and the reliability of flight controls systems today reduces the risk of accidents compared to what was available 50 years ago. (I am referring to auto-pilots, satellite-based navigation, etc).
How it works
The Argentic would be designed and built to land on water or runways. It would be an amphibious aircraft like the Bombardier CL-415, and the rear wheels could deploy sideways. Most of its fuselage would be made of composite material to reduce weight. The 45 foot long cargo space would be big enough to fit two pick-up trucks or unit load devices. (Bay size estimate: Twelve feet wide by seven feet high).
The cargo bay entrance could be located in the front, and it could serve as ramp. The Argentic would be equipped with two PW150 Turboprop engines capable of producing a minimum of 1,600 shaft horsepower each, mounted with Scimitar propellers constructed of composite. The power of the engine could be increased based on the load each operator needs to carry.
As a ground effect vehicle, the Argentic would fly around 20 feet above the water’s surface. It could also fly over rivers, lakes, deserts, tundra, and ice fields. It would probably have a cruising speed of 150mph, although it could be designed to fly much faster if needed. Note that the PW150 engines cover a range between 1,800hp and 5,000hp. Obviously, it would use GPS & and laser guided navigation systems combined with digital flight controls to maintain optimal flying conditions. Its autopilot could take off and land the aircraft/ship on its own.
What it’s used for
As with most of my concepts, this is a preliminary idea, meant to be discussed. Your opinion, public or private, is welcome. I’m interested in the idea of a company developing an intermediate sized ground effect aircraft that could carry twice the cargo load of similar-sized aircraft (or use 50% less fuel). The first question to answer is about the market size for such a craft? Such a project could be developed in partnership with governments who have very long coastal lines, long rivers, and lakes (Canada, United States, Russia, Malaysia, Australia).
I would like to thank Ray Mattison from Design Eye-Q who created the impressive images of the Argentic concept. Ray is based near Duluth Minnesota, USA. He studied at the College for Creative Studies and he has worked Cirrus Aircraft and Exodus Machines. I asked Ray to use colors of Canada’s Coast Guard to give a more realistic look to the concept. The title Argentic comes from the Argentavis, which is the largest flying bird ever discovered.