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Hovercraft have some unique properties that make them ideal for detecting and responding to situations. The versatility of the hovercraft to offer a combination of improved search tools with its ability to deliver a response team safely to the scene of the action make it a winning resource, offering benefits in detection, stealth and concealment, situational awareness, mission preparation and mapping and cost saving.

 

They provide an ideal surveillance platform. Conventional craft must remain offshore and in the open, visible to all. However a hovercraft can transition to a beach or a dried up river bed, conducting continuous covert surveillance. With the added advantage of direct line, hot pursuit if the opportunity arises. Hovercraft are also ideal as a mobile command post.

Stealth and Concealment

Griffon’s modern hovercraft have been designed for greater efficiency and reduced thermal, noise and emissions signatures. The new 12000TD is the only hovercraft that meets the current MARPOL requirements and it uses electric bow thrusters which significantly reduce machinery noise. The new 995ED uses hybrid diesel-electric power with all of its exhaust emissions released below the skirt and with electrically driven thrust propellers.

 

The use of UAV’s to perform the search function means that the hovercraft can stay concealed for longer and only reveal itself during the response phase.

Detection

Offering a large and stable platform, the hovercraft can act as a base from which to sustain surveillance operations using UAVs to find, assess and categorise incident.

 

The information collected is broadcast into the hovercraft, including ortho-mosaic representations in visual or thermal imagery which allows accurate planning and rapid deployment of the response team. Live imagery can be integrated with recognition software and can be recorded both on and off-board for judicial evidence.

Search and Situational Awareness

The UAV’s sensors have very high definition optical, thermal imagery or gas sensing in either linear or area search patterns, enabling the incident to be properly understood by the hovercraft team in remote locations.

 

This allows the hovercraft to act as a mini-aircraft carrier to sustain the UAV operations and gain situational awareness over a much greater area of operation than was previously achievable.

Mission preparation and mapping

The mapping images collected can be converted into ortho-mosaic tiles which are integrated with mission planning tools to allow best route planning and preparation of the response team in the live enviro-geographical situation.

 

The teaming with UAVs allows the hovercraft to deploy on a carefully planned route with maximum safety and fuel efficiency, retaining the maximum fuel endurance for operations on the scene.

Sustainment, through life costs and availability

The teaming with UAVs can show significant savings in through life costs not only in a reduction of fuel burned during search phase but also by reducing the skirt wear and engine hours. This also means that the interval between servicing and overhauls is increased which increases the interval between occurrences when the hovercraft is out of service for maintenance action.