Efficiency derived from a delicate balance
The strength of the HF is in the judicious use of three different types of lift technologies. The balance between these technologies is determined by the parameters of the mission for which the vessel needs to be optimized. These parameters are the classic ones such as prevailing weather conditions, sea states, local regulations and the like. Although each of these technologies is used well within their base envelope of operation, to obtain the remarkable efficiencies despite the leap of performance provided by the HF concept, the optimal speed ranges for each of the three technologies need to be minutely weighted against each other. The design of each HeliFerry is therefore tailored to the range of missions for which it is commissioned. There is as such no standard HF configuration.
Maturity of the concept
Although the HF is performing beyond expectations, it exists today only in a simulator. Although each of the technologies used have shining real life incarnations that go way beyond the operational envelope necessary for the HF (refer to Technologies), the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Therefore, the next step in the development is the building of a 10 pax HF that would combine the three core technologies in a generic fashion to confirm the results from the simulations. As the HF stays way clear of the bleeding edge of the application of any of the three technologies and the uniqueness of the HF concept is only in the compound use of these technologies and not the use of the technologies themselves, there is no unchartered technology territory to cover and the prototype will be available for optimizations and operational rehearsals. Obviously, any operator attracted to the potential of the HF concept is advised to become involved in the testing and validation scheme. Such an involvement will merit a prime ranking in the order of developments.
Range and type
As the upper range for the load of a HF seems be below 30 tons, the HF is positioned for primarily pax applications of medium range routes that cover calm as well as more choppy waters.
Although it is not a preset requirement, composites would offer several advantages for the construction of the HF. Which in the spectrum of composite technologies would be most appropriate depends on the economics of the mission requirements of the vessel in development.