Certificate no 125
Status Registered
a12admin

Details

Function Fighting Vessel
Location Lee on Solent
Vessel type Military Hovercraft
Current use Museum based
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required Yes

Construction

Builder Westland Aircraft, East Cowes
Built in 1969
Hull material Other metal
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Inboard diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None

Dimensions

Length: Overall
78.41 feet (23.90 m)
Breadth: Beam
45.50 feet (13.87 m)

History

This iconic vessel, the sole prototype of the BH7 class was designed solely for military operations and is a unique and irreplaceable craft, historically very important and played an important role in the development of hovercraft.

It was not only an exceptionally fast multi-purpose naval vessel but it was also used to demonstrate the potential of hovercraft and for this purpose was sent to Europe and the USA. It certainly played an important part in in helping to convince the Americans to invest heavily in hovercraft development.

Her "chassis" was a buoyancy tank divided into watertight cells. With an excess of 200% buoyancy she was virtually unsinkable. Made of aluminium light alloys the bow and side panels were fabricated in glass fibre rather than the normal alloy cladding.

She is on display at the museum, facing out on to the Solent and remains a star attraction. The public can go on board and step back into time. Her unusual chimney like sonar device and clam shell door add to the mystery and appeal.

 

Sources

Fast Ferry: International Hovercraft Museum Seeks Permanent Home, pp29-31, December 1993 
Heron, Liz, The News, 4 December 1998

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk