Hovercraft builder Griffon Hoverwork has delivered new 995EDs to Hong Kong and Estonia.

The deals have seen two eight-metre-long 995EDs made for the Hong Kong Marine Police and one for Estonian Border Guard. In total seven 995ED hovercraft have been built and sold since the model was unveiled at the ExpoNaval trade fair in Chile in 2018 with clients ranging from the Malaysia Marine Department to private customers. The 995ED entry price is around £650,000 with plenty of options, and the craft has capacity for eight people or up to four stretchers or any combination up to a maximum payload of just under a tonne making it suitable for a variety of roles. Top speed is 30 knots at full ‘all up weight’.

Griffon Hoverwork Sales and Marketing director, Nick MacLeod-Ash, said the hovercraft’s unique capabilities were critical to winning the latest deals.

“Hovercraft like the 995ED are more effective, efficient and environmentally sensitive than ordinary patrol boats and RIBs as they can operate over shallow waters, debris and ice which boats cannot, moreover they have a big advantage with higher passenger capacity and payload than helicopters which are also extremely expensive,” he said.

“In Hong Kong the 995ED is suited to operate over parts of the region’s shallow and highly congested waters counteracting illegal trade and fishing. This is in addition to the 380TD we recently sold to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation department for research purposes. Meanwhile in Estonia the 995ED is performing border guard operations over ground and ice. For these clients, the 995ED’s environmental benefits were important as the craft is quiet, fast and hovers above the surface without disturbing marine life. Boats operating in shallow water frequently damage their structure and propellers on rocks or ice but hovercraft have an air gap under the hull which makes them less vulnerable to hazards and more effective.”

Mr MacLeod-Ash said Griffon is seeing a recovery in the exports market with a good order-book and demand across Griffon’s range from large to smaller hovercraft together with the support services and consultancy the company offers.

“Overseas clients are coming to Griffon for quality,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the hovercraft market is being cluttered with hovercraft being offered by manufacturers who do not have the knowledge and experience to design and build hovercraft that comply with IMO Code or Class rules. As the original hovercraft manufacturer set up by one of the early pioneers of the hovercraft, Sir Christopher Cockerell, Griffon Hoverwork leads the world in these standards of build and aftercare. The 995ED was the first hovercraft to achieve certification against the UK Hovercraft Code and Griffon generally builds to the High Speed Craft Code. Our hovercraft are always certified to the preferred Class Society for whichever country they operate in, and past examples include Lloyds Register , DNV-GL, ABS and the Korean Register.”

Mr MacLeod-Ash said a key design benefit of Griffon’s hovercraft hull is they are built of aluminium unlike competitor’s craft which are made of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) also known as fiberglass.

“Aluminium is far more robust when the hovercraft is operating over a harder surface like a beach, flood debris or ice,” he said.

“It is also much easier to repair with less training and fewer specialist tools. Furthermore, it is easier to inspect aluminium through-life and as a result cheaper to maintain. Because of the surfaces and areas that hovercraft are operated in, it is lower risk and cheaper through life to build in aluminium than GRP although this does make the initial acquisition price more expensive. Our experience supplying and sustaining hovercraft around the world has taught us that and several are still in service after 30 years of hard operations.”

Griffon Hoverworks also add that their hovercraft are also in use by those responsible for national security and military operations, missions include:

  • coastguard functions
  • border patrol and surveillance
  • policing and customs duties
  • marine interdiction and infra structure security
  • weapons platforms, troop carriers and logistics vehicles
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Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_536390)
3 months ago

I’m sure Sir Christopher would be proud.

Herodotus (@guest_536395)
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Okay, no need to “crow” about it. 🙂

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_536405)
3 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Very good!

Geoff (@guest_536399)
3 months ago

Very pleased that hovercraft production is still thriving in Southampton

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg (@guest_536401)
3 months ago

HK police? I thought the government had embargoed all sales to them

George (@guest_536404)
3 months ago

Fully agree Levi, I was also under the opinion that the UK was not going to supply materials and equipment which will support China in it’s surpresive stance.
Won’t the supply contravene UK restrictions ?

Joesene Mack
Joesene Mack (@guest_536484)
3 months ago
Reply to  George

Nope. Only the sale of weapons and riot equipment eg shields and water cannons has been blocked.

BB85 (@guest_536403)
3 months ago

Do we have any involvement in the US LCAC? I assume not and I know we can’t afford them ourselves but it is a shame that the US and Russians exploited h9vercraft to their full potential.
Everytime a French president gets on like an arse I like to imagine British hovercraft storming the beaches of Normandy and Brittany to claim back what belongs to the Royal family.

spyintheskyuk (@guest_536420)
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Was it only at the beginning of the Queen’s reign where that claim to the French throne was renounced or at least allowed to disappear, will have to check which was the last Royal standard to incorporate the Fleur de lis I guess. Mind you in regards to the Hovercraft I guess the military requirement for it here was never going to feed a producer in the way those others have. Even our coastline isn’t for the most part ideal for its use sadly but good to see its originator still in business though its the first time I have… Read more »

Sleepy (@guest_536462)
3 months ago
Reply to  spyintheskyuk

Last British monarch that claimed the French throne is George III. The treaty that ended the Napoleonic wars removed the claim. Edward III was the one started it.

terence patrick hewett
terence patrick hewett (@guest_536476)
3 months ago
Reply to  Sleepy

I rather think it was William Duke of Normandy wot started it.

Sleepy (@guest_536520)
3 months ago

Before EdIII they only claimed parts of France check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_claims_to_the_French_throne

Dern (@guest_536707)
3 months ago

The clue is in “Duke of Normandy” not “King of France.” The only throne William the Bastard ever claimed was the English one.

pkcasimir (@guest_536439)
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

The LCAC is no longer in production and is going to be replaced by the SSC. Only British connection is Dowty Propellers and Rolls Royce, USA.
PS: Since when does a German family have claim to France?

BB85 (@guest_536442)
3 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

I’m going back to Henry the 8th. Pretty sure any genuine claim to France died out a couple of centuries ago but its still good to pretend. The French seem to hold more of a grudge over the 100 years war more than they do about 2 world wars.

SwindonSteve (@guest_536461)
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

If memory serves, the claim to the French throne was dropped when Queen Victoria took the throne.

pkcasimir (@guest_536491)
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Henry VIII, the son of the usurper Welshman, Henry Tudor, who had no legitimate claim to the throne or any lands in France? That Henry VIII?

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_536409)
3 months ago

I must admit, that with the French being awkward, it would be good if there was a modern SES, the size of the stretched SRN4, linking Ramsgate with Ostend (belgium).

spyintheskyuk (@guest_536421)
3 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Yeah I loved that craft made it so easy to cross on a good day at least.

David (@guest_536423)
3 months ago
Reply to  spyintheskyuk

My preferred way of crossing the Channel in pre-tunnel days. But I remember one winter crossing that was a bit like a fairground ride…..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_536433)
3 months ago
Reply to  David


John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_536536)
3 months ago

I did my “Diamonds are forever” drive to Amsterdam on the SRN4. One way was a bit bumpy, so that is why I suggest an SES for a fantasy replacement. Sort of a cross between a catamaran & a Hovercraft. So you have 2 rigid side hulls with flexible skirts front & rear. Supposed to be better in rougher seas. As it does not go on land, it can have propellers, so use economical diesels rather than expensive gas turbines.
Bell made the SES-200 test ship that fired a Standard SM-1 missile while doing 60 knots.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_536410)
3 months ago

Yeh, sale to Hong Kong at this time does seem strange, on the face of it. Still, sale may not prove puzzling again, if Hudong manufacture a similar design in a while.

Cymbeline (@guest_536447)
3 months ago

I remember being taken out on a large hovercraft at P&EE Shoeburyness (possibly a 12 seater) back in 93, the next time I saw it was on the set of Die Another Day, took all day to shoot about 20 seconds of film.

Mike O
Mike O (@guest_536468)
3 months ago

This is a company that I like to keep my eye on. Some really impressive products and a great website.

Quick question. Why are hovercraft not used more? Is it just expense?

Trevor G
Trevor G (@guest_536475)
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike O

Both capital and running costs will be factors but limitations due to weather conditions, especially sea state and crosswinds are important.. Slightly OT but hydrofoils have not succeeded as some expected for similar reasons- I remember a trip on a supramar pt20 with a swell running. Hitting one of those was like driving into a brick wall…

Frank62 (@guest_536501)
3 months ago

Hmm, supplying the means of rrepression in HK for the PRC.

John Docherty
John Docherty (@guest_536733)
3 months ago

this site has now got too many popups – it’s annoying and reducing the number of times that I visit