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US Navy PACV (SK-5) in Vietnam
US Navy PACV (SK-5) in Vietnam
Class overview
Name: SR.N5 Warden class
Builders: British Hovercraft Corporation
Preceded by: SR.N4
General characteristics
Type: Hovercraft
Displacement: 17,500 lb (7.9 t) maximum
Length: 39 feet 5 inches (12.01 m)
Beam: 22 ft 9 in (6.93 m)
Height: 16 ft 9 in (skirt inflated)
Propulsion: 1 × 900 shp (671 kW) Rolls-Royce Gnome turbine engine for lift and propulsion
Speed: 70 knots (130 km/h; 81 mph)[1]
Range: 240 nm (3 hr 30 min) at 15,800 lb weight
Capacity: 6,600 lb load including crew and fuel
Troops: 16
Notes: from Flight[2]

The Saunders-Roe SR.N5 (or Warden class) was a medium-sized hovercraft which first flew in 1964. It was the first production-built hovercraft in the world. A later "stretched" variant of the SR.N5 was produced in greater numbers as the SR.N6.

14 SR.N5s were built, seven of them by Bell Aerosystems under licence in the United States as the Bell SK-5. Some of the SK-5 production became military Patrol Air Cushion Vehicle (PACV). At least two Bell SK-5s were used for civilian work.[3]

Design and development[edit]

The first SR.N5 (001) started sea trials in April 1964; as a result fin area was increased and a system for ducting plenum air to improve low speed handling.

Military service[edit]

Four SR.N5s entered service with the Interservice Hovercraft Trials Unit at RNAS Lee-on-Solent (HMS Daedalus) for trials and operational missions. Given the military aircraft serial numbers XT492, XT493, XT657 and XW246, these were deployed in the UK, Malaysia, Thailand, Aden, Libya and Belgium. Two were subsequently converted to SR.N6s.

Three Bell SK-5s saw service with the United States Navy and another three with the United States Army in Vietnam during the late 1960s.

The Sultanate of Brunei and the Canadian Coast Guard had one SR.N5 each.


  1. ^ with 6 inch clearance under skirt
  2. ^ 23 July 1965 p10
  3. ^ Flight 1965 ACV International Supplement