Griffon Hovercraft - A Unique Military Solution

Griffon Hovercraft Ltd

Category: Hovercraft

It is only when it is difficult or impossible for a boat to operate that a hovercraft should be purchased i.e. a hovercraft is a unique solution for military operations in areas of very shallow water, land, mud, sandbanks, debris, swamp, weed, ice and rapids.

Griffon 2000TD hovercraft
Royal Marines’ Griffon 2000TD hovercraft in operation during the recent Iraq war

Whereas the above is generally true, there are other reasons for purchasing Griffon hovercraft. For instance, as the Royal Marines proved in Iraq recently with their four Griffon 2000TDs, hovercraft will operate over mines with impunity in deep (or shallow) water and on land, since they create virtually no pressure, acoustic or magnetic signatures.

Indian Coast Guard 8000TD
Indian Coast Guard 8000TD in amphibious mode

Also, a hovercraft at speed creates virtually no wash and has the unique capability of operating from a completely unprepared beach or riverbank. Again, the Royal Marines operated their craft from an uninhabited island in the middle of the Congo River during the troubles there.

With its very low radar signature a Griffon hovercraft is capable of hiding undetected amongst trees on/near a beach and then taking the direct line to intercept an intruder, regardless of land or deep-water channels.

These are the unique advantages of operating hovercraft rather than boats. The British Royal Marines’ Commanding Officer has said, when based at a particularly remote island “We can land on 80% more of the island with our hovercraft than we can with conventional landing craft”. It is believed that this figure is representative of beaches/landing areas worldwide.

470TDoperating over ice in Sweden
470TDoperating over ice in Sweden

Griffon Hovercraft Limited (“GHL”) produces the largest range of hovercraft available in the world today. Griffons are in service with, amongst others, the British Royal Marines (4 x 2000TD), Swedish Coast Guard (3 x 2000TD), Royal Thai Navy (3 x 1000TD), Poland Police (1 x 375TD), Finland Frontier Guard (3 x 2000TD), Saudi Arabian Border Guard (5 x 8000TD), Belgian Army (1 x 2000TD), Indian Coast Guard (6 x 8000TD), Lithuanian Border Police (2 x 2000TD) and the Korean Marine Police (1 x 8000TD).

Many other prestigious organisations such as Shell (2 x 450TD, 3 x 3000TD), BP (1 x 2000TD), the Royal National Lifeboat institute (4 x 470TD), Changi Airport Singapore (1 x 8000TD) use Griffon hovercraft and over 50 Griffon hovercraft are operating in the Crash Rescue or Search & Rescue roles, from the arctic to the equator.

The Griffon hovercraft range starts at the small open 5 seat/375 kgs payload Griffon 375TD, progresses through several intermediate craft, and currently ends with the 80 seat/8-10 tonnes payload Griffon 8000TD. All craft are powered by diesel engines and outline specifications can be found on GHL’s web site at www.griffonhovercraft.com

Belgian Army 2000TD retrieving target drone
Belgian Army 2000TD retrieving target drone

All Griffon hovercraft can be tailored to the customer’s exact requirements, provided that the overall payload lies within the payload capacity of each craft. GHL will be pleased to assist the customer with his selection and design of craft since, unlike a boat, weight and trim is quite critical on a hovercraft. Craft can be equipped with guns/cannons, a bow ramp, a vehicle deck, accommodation cabins, small cranes, fire-fighting equipment etc – exactly like a boat.

Two Indian Coast Guard 8000TDs
Two Indian Coast Guard 8000TDs moored alongside a Patrol Boat

Each diesel engine on a Griffon hovercraft powers both a lift fan and thrust propeller and all maintenance can be done by an average boat mechanic. The skirt is the item, which usually requires the most attention, and unskilled personnel, trained by GHL, can carry out servicing/maintenance of the skirt. Full driver and maintenance training by GHL’s qualified instructors is given in country on site, and the training ranges from one day per trainee for the 375TD to one to two months for the 8000TD. Up to three trainees can be trained at the same time on the same craft.

Saudi Arabian Border Guard 8000TDs
One of five Saudi Arabian Border Guard 8000TDs deploying Land Rover

The smaller Griffon hovercraft can be shipped in 20/40 ft containers whereas the larger craft usually travel on the deck of a large cargo ship to their destination.

Griffon Hovercraft Limited leads the world in the design, development, manufacture and operation of hovercraft and produces the largest range of craft available in the world today. Please view GHL’s web site at http://www.griffonhovercraft.com