SLN acquires hovercraft

[TamilNet, Sunday, 28 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) is to acquire a British designed hovercraft for logistical use, according to the Lloyd's of London Press Limited. The medium-lift M10, designed by ABS Hovercraft (based in Romsey) and built by Vosper Thornycroft is said to be currently undergoing final trials before being handed over.

The 20.6m long M10 is said to be one of the first hovercraft designed specifically for military use (rather than an adaptation of civil designs) and it uses fibre-reinforced hull composites and diesel power. The craft's full 'cushion' speed is said to be 40 knots with a full load of 10 tonnes. It has a range of 600 km.

The craft is said to be capable of carrying 56 troops or two landrovers and 20 troops or other such permutations. It is armed with a 20mm cannon and can be fitted with missiles. The SLN's Dvora gunboats carry similar guns.

ABS claims that the composite hulls result in better payloads, hull damage can be repaired in situ without the carriage of welding equipment, and their simple design aids repairs and maintenance.

So far, considerable international naval and military trialling has resulted in only peripheral operational use of hovercraft in a few countries, apart from the big craft developed by both the US and Soviet navies.

ABS' international marketing director, Peter Troniseck told Lloyds List: "There is still the relic belief around that hovercraft are automatically expensive". He claims that the M10 is cheaper to run than an equivalent boat for the same job.


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