Marine Electronic Systems (MES) has been awarded a £5M contract for the mission system on 12 Indian Coastguard Hovercraft (via Griffon Hoverwork Limited). The mission system comprises navigation, communications and optical surveillance equipment.
The navigation system comprises a mini integrated bridge system with radar, ECDIS and conning graphics shown on multifunction displays arrayed across the cockpit fascia in a ‘glass bridge’ configuration. This system has been developed by MES specifically for hovercraft to assist both in the navigation and control of the craft and to provide engine instrumentation and alarms.
A vital part of the surveillance suite is the night vision system which is fully integrated with the navigation system and comprises stabilised, cooled thermal imaging and day/night cameras with powerful zoom capabilities to enable the hovercraft to detect and classify vessels at long range. Hovercraft can utilise their high speed to cover large sea areas very quickly and therefore are highly effective as patrol vessels.
Griffon Hoverwork won the main contract worth some £34 million to build 12 of the 8000TD medium hovercraft for the Indian Coastguard in October 2010.
The 8000TD is a popular craft for Coastguard operations, as it can be configured to carry passengers, vehicles and equipment for disaster relief or medical evacuation. At 21.3m in length and with a payload of 8 tonnes, it can reach speeds of 45 knots and is powered by two Iveco diesel engines.