WIG-craft Ground-effect-vehicle Bodeneffektfahrzeug ekranolet-ekranoplan

Ground effect vehicles (GEV) (also wing-in-ground-effect craft (WIG-craft)) are multimode means of transport, which use the ground effect mode as its main mode of movement.





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The ground effect is a formation of a region of highly pressurized air (dynamic air cushion) between the wing and ground (water) surface when moving at altitude less than the width of the wing (an average aerodynamic chord of the wing). The result is a significant increase of wing lift and, consequently, of cost-efficiency of flight.
The range of cruising speeds of WIG craft is 150 - 600 km/h, and the index of transport efficiency – the fuel consumption per passenger-kilometer is by 2 - 4 times lower than that of the most fuel-efficient wide-body passenger aircraft – Airbus, and approaches an equivalent index of the common ships.


WIG craft can fill an important sector in transport systems, as an intermediate link between a conventional aircraft and ship.


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) classifies the GEV as follows:


Type A – ground effect vehicle, intended for flight only using the ground effect.

Type B – GEV, intended as Type A, but capable of a temporarily flight at altitudes beyond the reach of ground effect, but not higher than 150 m above the supporting surface.

Type C – GEV, intended for flight using ground effect, as well as for long flights beyond its reach, at altitudes above 150m.


This classification currently applies only to the GEV, designed to carry 12 or more passengers.


According to this classification, and in view of a possible set of properties, multimode ground effect vehicles can be both universal and specialized.
Therefore, the design of these vehicles can vary significantly. The specific constructive implementation depends on a range of tasks, weight and size characteristics and the geographical area of ​​operation.


Multimode ground effect vehicles (MGV) are, according to the classification of the IMO, ground effect vehicles, but with significantly enhanced functionality.


They can be used in such conditions, in which traditional WIG craft, aircraft, hydroplanes and helicopters are simply unsuitable.


MGV are applicable in all spheres of human activity, both in the civil and military fields. In addition, the concept of MGV allows you to realize some features that are unique to vessels today.




Comparison with other means of transport with similar operation modes


characteristics-mgv wig-craft ekranoplan EN



Application examples


  • patrol of maritime economic zones, borders and detention of offenders
  • fast arrival and performing of a full rescue operation cycle in the far sea zone, including rescue from the water while hovering in areas not accessible by helicopters
  • all types of aviation operations, including in remote areas (protection of public order, transport, health, search, environmental, fire-fighting, disaster mitigation, etc.)
  • mobile hospitals: fast arrival directly into the disaster zone
  • motorized research stations for the polar regions

  • public speed passenger and freight traffic on the waterways: for big rivers, lakes and coastal areas, in island nations (on archipelagoes) and between continents
  • corporate transport in various spheres of economic activity
  • for transportation of work shifts, perishable and urgent cargo in remote areas, for offshore oil and gas platforms as an alternative to helicopters
  • agriculture and forestry: more effective and efficient aerial chemical operations and fire-fighting
  • fishing industry: fast delivery of fresh seafood, flying seiners with independent aerial reconnaissance
  • travel companies: a new kind of sea and geographic tourism

  • recreation and sports, travel of a new quality
  • personal transport for daily affairs
  • new sports: skiing (or slalom) over the water, aerobatics, super-extreme

  • combat use as a high-speed amphibious platform for a variety of combat systems and landing
  • a new type of deck-based aircraft
  • rapid transit connection between the bases and ships
  • high-speed transport of troops and military supplies
  • anti-vessel operations in any maritime zone, with the possibility of an extended duty in the drift
  • performance of special operations, anti-narcotrafficking
  • independent search and detention of pirates on the high seas



Potential application regions of multimode ground effect vehicles


Application WIG-craft Ground-effect-vehicle Anwendung Bodeneffektfahrzeug Primenenie ekranolet-ekranoplan



The red ellipses are ice-free waters. All the developers indicate these waters as geographic markets for application of the ground effect vehicles. This is due to the fact that the design of these GEV utilizes rigid hull bottoms or floats. Therefore, these machines can be operated only on clean water. Other than that, they are small-sized, i.e. belong to the class of light aircraft and so have a low seaworthiness and, accordingly, limited areas of marine application. This statement does not fully apply to those Russian developers who use inflatable floats with different variants of protection of their bottom surfaces.

The proposed concept of multimode ground effect vehicles (MGV) allows you to create a family of aircraft of different weight and design variants. Therefore, they are designed for operation in any climate and over any relatively flat surfaces outside the airfields. At that, without having damaging effects on vegetation, such as in tundra or steppe. Therefore, the white ellipses show additional areas of their application. If necessary, the MGV may be based on existing airfields.


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