SOUTHAMPTON hovercraft builder Griffon Hoverwork to launch its latest model at a trade fair in Chile.

Griffon's new 995ED model will be unveiled at Exponaval trade fair in in Valparaiso on December 4.

The Griffon delegation led by sales and marketing director Nick MacLeod-Ash will join the Society of Maritime Industries UK stand (N-164) at the fair.

The new Griffon 995ED

Mr MacLeod-Ash said Griffon will stage the launch just weeks after delivering the first ever 995ED model to the Malaysian Marine Department for use in coastguard duties.

“Griffon is hugely excited to unveil the highly innovative 995ED which is specially designed for search and rescue, coastguard and surveying work complementing Griffon’s range of marine grade aluminium hovercraft,” he said.

Griffon sales and marketing director Nick MacLeod-Ash

The eight-metre 995ED has a top speed of 30 knots and Griffon say its is perfectly suited to the demands of South American geography and climate.

Mr MacLeod Ash said: “Griffon has been supplying a range of hovercraft to South American navies and coastguards for many years including to Peru and Columbia,” he said.

“We therefore understand the demands of the South American coastline and inland waterways very well. Critically hovercraft like the 995ED can work better than ordinary patrol boats and RIBs in the extreme hot and cold climates of South America.

I will be presenting a case study at Exponaval explaining how Griffon hovercrafts are so effective in flood and disaster roles where search and rescue using conventional boats can be very difficult. The hovercraft like the 995ED can operate brilliantly in shallow water, rivers and over ice, weed and mud.

"In these cases, boats cannot navigate the conditions and helicopters are extremely expensive and have limited passenger capacity and payload. The 995ED, on the other hand, can travel over almost any surface, including debris which is becoming a bigger problem with increased flooding and tsunami events. The 995ED is a nimble, quiet and stable hovercraft which can take up to eight people, has capacity for two stretchers and can carry a pay load of just under a tonne.”

The larger Griffon BHT

Griffon will also be showcasing its larger BHT hovercraft at Exponaval for more heavy-duty roles and deep-sea operations.

The 33-metre BHT can carry up to 180 people or a full payload of 21 tonnes and has a maximum speed of 45 knots.

The BHT is is in service with the Canadian and Korean coastguards as well as being used to supply the offshore oil operations in the Caspian Sea.

Mr MacLeod-Ash said Griffon will emphasise at Exponaval the British-made quality of its products.

The Griffon 995 in Finland