Airseas carries out successful sea trials of Seawing kite system


France-based wind propulsion leader Airseas has issued the first pictures and video footage of its automated kite system Seawing during the first phase of transatlantic trials which the company reports has been successfully completed..

The system is undergoing sea trials on the 154-metre RoRo vessel Ville de Bordeaux, which is operated by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) and chartered by Airbus, Airseas’ minority shareholder and launch customer, to transport aircraft components between Europe and the US. A team of Airseas engineers is on board to test the system and gather data, with the operational support of LDA’s crew and Airbus’ Transport & Logistics department.

Flying 200 meters above sea level, Seawing aims to slash fuel consumption and emissions by an average of 20%. Combining expertise from the aerospace and maritime sectors, the system will use digital twins and advanced automation systems to ensure that the system can be safely deployed, operated and stored at the push of a button with minimal input or training needed from crew. The solution can be installed on virtually any type of commercial vessel.

The first stages of the sea trials have successfully validated key steps such as the folding and unfolding of the wing, take-off and landing, and flights in altitude. The next phase will test the Seawing in a broader range of weather conditions and fine-tune the automation system.

In addition to the first system on the Ville de Bordeaux for Airbus, Airseas has also received firm orders from “K” Line for five Seawing systems, with additional options to equip up to 51 vessels in total.

Vincent Bernatets, CEO of Airseas, said: “Seeing the Seawing in action on a commercial vessel is such a proud moment for us, and the culmination of years of meticulous research and development. Testing a brand new technology in real-life conditions and while respecting the operational constraints of a commercial ship is an ambitious endeavour, and the solid progress of our sea trials is a testimony to the dedication of our team of engineers on board and on shore.”

Antoine Person, Corporate Secretary of LDA, commented: “We are committed to playing an active role in reducing shipping’s carbon emissions, starting now. We are proud to be associated with this project as a supplier and partner of Airbus, working for the success of this innovative wind propulsion solution alongside Airseas.”