The design and development of structures in advanced composites is expensive. However, with the advantages of composite materials in mind ABS took the strategic decision to invest substantially into the design of the ABS M10.
The benefits in the production process more than compensates the upfront investment over the long run so that competitive prices can be maintained. More significant is the cost-advantage in operating and maintaining a craft in advanced composites which lead to a low level of life cycle costs.
Aluminium is a recognised material when employed in commercial vessels such as passenger ferries where weight considerations have a lower priority and the vessel does not have to withstand the rigours of an amphibious vehicle such as a hovercraft.
With the operational experience of many years of aluminium Hovercraft their disadvantages became obvious to all operators. Besides lower performance their high cost of maintenance - in particular of the structure - result in high and mostly hidden life cycle costs; one reason, why the older generation Hovercraft operating over the English Channel had to be put out of service recently.
In particular the hull needs frequent inspection and survey with an inherent risk of structural failures and cracks in critical areas due to an increased level of vibration. Increased preventive maintenance to keep corrosion under control pays its toll. Repairs are time-consuming and costly.