A British-designed composite-based six-seater seaplane could be built abroad because of lack of interest from UK firms in funding its development.
Warrior (Aero-Marine) of Lymington, Hampshire has been forced abroad to seek the £15m needed to build the Centaur, launched at last September’s Farnborough air show.
Warrior managing director James Labouchere is in talks with potential US and Asian backers, including an institutional investor, a private investor and ‘a very large international engineering company’.
Labouchere said the Centaur could take a ‘substantial portion’ of the market to replace 6,800 existing salt-water seaplanes of its size.
Hulls typically last four to eight years; Warrior wants to use the latest composites on Centaur to provide 20 30 year hull lives.
A Centaur model has been tested, but no prototype has flown. Warrior plans to do all design development using computer modelling.
‘We can more or less certify the aeroplane on paper, so we can produce the first aeroplane using production tooling,’ Labouchere said.