Griffon Hoverwork Ltd is a British hovercraft designer and manufacturer. It was founded after Griffon Hovercraft Ltd of Southampton, and Hoverwork Ltd of the Isle of Wight, were acquired by the Bland Group in 2008, then merged in 2009. The Isle of Wight facility was closed in 2012.
Before the merger with Hoverwork, Griffon Hovercraft Ltd (founded 1976) was one of the oldest manufacturers of larger sized hovercraft. In the 1960s the company's founder, Dr E.W.H. Gifford, was one of the early hovercraft pioneers and was involved with the first commercial hovercraft operation. At the time of the merger in March 2009 the company was run by John Gifford, the founder's son.
Griffon Hoverwork produces a range of hovercraft ranging from 5 to 180 person carrying capacity. Their hovercraft are mainly built from aluminium, while parts of the cabins are constructed from glass-reinforced plastic. A unique aspect of the Griffon line is that all models are powered by marine diesel engines. Griffon Hoverwork was the first hovercraft manufacturer to power their craft with marine diesel engines, which they claim provides greater durability when operating the craft in salt water conditions.
Griffon hovercraft are mainly used for civilian transport, military, and life guard operations. They are regarded as commercial craft for heavy duty applications, rather than as leisure craft.The company also performs experimental design work. They designed and produced an experimental trimaran ferry boat for operation on the River Thames in London,hovering crop-sprayers, hovering cricket-pitch covers for Lord’s Cricket Ground, and a hovering reed-cutter for a company in Austria.
Military and Rescue applications
Griffon's hovercraft, primarily versions of their lightweight Griffon 2000TD hovercraft, have been purchased by military and rescue organisations such as the Royal Marines, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Korean Coast Guard, the Pakistan Navy, the Swedish Coast Guard, the Polish Border Guard, the Estonian Border Guard, the Lithuanian State Border Guard Service in Klaipėda and the Colombian Naval Infantry in their fight against FARC in the Amazon rainforest.
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Saunders, Stephen (RN) Jane's Fighting Ships 2003–2004 ISBN 0-7106-2546-4
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