Hovercraft Owners/Operators from around the world met in September at Griffon Hoverwork’s manufacturing site in Southampton, UK for the annual Griffon Hovercraft user group conference.
The meeting provides an opportunity for hovercraft users to get together to exchange views and ideas on the best operating practices for these specialized but versatile craft. It also provides Griffon Hoverwork with a forum to keep customers updated on new technologies in the field of hovercraft manufacture and operation. Mike Whitlock was invited to present on some of the latest electronic technologies finding applications in hovercraft.
MES have provided the navigation and communication outfits for Griffon’s hovercraft for many years now. Mike’s presentation included information on the recently completed mini integrated bridge system (MIBS) installed on the new Indian Coastguard hovercraft and some video footage of the system in action on board the craft.
The core MIBS system comprises multifunction displays showing radar, electronic chart system and bespoke conning display (produced by MES specifically for GHL to display hovercraft controls and instrumentation). A recent key additional component of the MIBS is the electro-optical thermal imaging camera system. These systems are gaining significant popularity amongst coastguard and military operators and in this instance MES integrated the camera picture into the conning display and provided control from the radar and GPS.
Mike also outlined some of the situational awareness bolt-on equipment for hovercraft to allow them to operate as a rapidly deployable surveillance vehicle or command and control centre. Such equipment includes surveillance radars, situational awareness software, sensors and data communications systems such as self healing mesh networks, and use of 3/4G cellular data services to transmit a real time surveillance picture between units.