back to article Prototype semi-hovership delivered to Commandos

Blighty's elite Royal Marine Commandos have just taken delivery of a prototype semi-aircushion hover assault craft, intended to speed up the amphibious landings of the future. The Royal Marines already operate normal boats and air-cushion hovercraft, but the new vessel is a Partial Air Cushion Supported CATamaran or …


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  1. Gary F

    New ferry service

    I thought this was a new high-speed ferry service from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight.

    1. Marcus Aurelius

      Isle of Wight Ferry

      is the only thing where the public comes close to being ripped off as much as by defence contractors......

  2. flying_walrus

    Ya, but is it better than clarkson's little ford?

    Which only held three marines, but cost about 1/10th what this thing does...

  3. Squits


    Isn't that a fetish for Mr & Mrs Pacman?

    Otherwise, quite impressive.

  4. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Fifty years old?

    Thatlooks suspiciously like a Denny sidewall craft, dating back to the 1960's (Gods, I feel old)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the...

    ...funky looking construct in the background at the end?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a title, just required padding.

    I take it from the lack of opinion that LP is in support of this project.

  7. SlabMan

    Looking for the Lewis dig...

    I thought this was alarmingly uncritical till Lewis slipped in the reference to 'landlocked'. Had me worrried for a minute

  8. Dan Breen

    55 Tons?

    On first reading, this looks like score 1 for the boffins!

    Only downside is that you don't see the price tag. So, I guess if you have to ask...

    1. hugo tyson
      Black Helicopters

      Solent sea forts

      It's a sea fort in the Solent, same as the one in the distance of the opening shot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A Solent fort

    3. Marcus Aurelius

      Re: 50 years old

      That's just how long it will take before it gets in service, and by then the cost will be a trillion pounds....

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "Thatlooks suspiciously like a Denny sidewall craft,"

      And described in the 1982 thriller "Sidewall" by David Graham?

    5. Robert Forsyth

      It's what is in the water that is new

      Not what is on top

    6. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Palmerston's follies

      Built in the 19th century to protect Portsmouth Harbour from the French. Just think of it as an old-tech firewall.

      Featured in Dr. Who's encounter with the Sea Devils.

  9. Arthur Jackson

    Beach Landing

    Nah, it's to take surfers from the hugely successful "Surf Reef" at Boscombe direct to the Olympics in Weymouth....

    The neoprene one with the cobwebs one...

  10. Trygve Henriksen
    Thumb Down



    If you absolutely have to nick a design somewhere else, at least have the decency to IMPROVE on it!

  11. Ian Ferguson

    The funky-looking construct... one of the sea forts near Portsmouth. A perfect getaway for mad scientist or megalomaniac types. One was up for sale recently!

    1. James Hughes 1

      But, but , but

      those are not landing craft. They are defo. cool, but not landing craft.

    2. Insane Reindeer

      Yes becasue it so obvious...

      that they copied the design of a motor torpedo boat/corvette when they were you aiming for a landing craft.

      1. Trygve Henriksen

        Sure they did.

        The hulls are almost identical. The only 'major' difference is the hinged bow section, which looks as if a blind person slapped it on, while drunk...

        (I won't mention the rear ramp... Ugh... )

        And if you read up on the KNM Skjold you'll see that the functional description is exactly the same; a catamaran wih a partial air-cushion trapped between the hulls.

        As for transporting A1s or Chieftains...

        Rip off the superstructure, the 76mm Oto Breda Super Rapid cannon, the Surface-to-surface missiles, the state-of-the-art radar and comms, build the hull out of thick steel plates instead of modern radar-absorbent materials, and you'd probably end up with that PACwhatever...

        What I'm trying to say is that NOTHING on that lander is 'new' or innovative.

        Not my fault that the British Navy is so far after the times...

        Also, the 'standoff' these can give the mothership is imaginary.

        As soon as anything like this gets close to the shore, they will be spotted and reported back to a HQ. When THAT happens, the REAL killers of the sea is let loose. Subs, MTBs.

        A Landing craft has NO use on a modern battlefield before the beach-head is secure and you have air-superiority, and also have taken out command and communications. (A single man-portable missile can take it out during the unloading phase. And you have no way of stopping him unless you 'own' the area for at least a few Km around.) Want men on the beach?

        Use RIBs. They're faster, have almost no radar signature, can be launched from large subs and so on. Sure, you can't bring Tanks( read: targets) on them, but a modern 'beach-head' scenario requiring tanks to keep it is doomed anyway. An A1 uses so much fuel that it could just as well be tied to a tanker truck... There's a lot of coastland that 'doesn't lend itself' to landing tanks or heavy machinery. The rest you must expect to be mined.

        On the beaches that you CAN land on, the hovercraft models are much better than this hybrid as they can travel up onto the beach, so that soldiers can exit onto dry land instead of slowly wading through deep waters. (A slow soldier is a dead soldier)

        Also, the Hovercraft will usually pass over buried mines on the beach without setting them off.

        When the area IS secure, landing craft can be used to unload relief troops, equipment and supplies, but then you can also move the 'motherships' much closer to land without danger, so the unloading goes faster anyway.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @Trygve - As previously

          I bow to your obviously superior knowledge of Naval Architecture and combat operations in the Littoral Battlespace.

          Nobody is claiming PACSCAT FLC is new or innovative, she's a task-specific-configuration demonstrator, as a potential replacement for the LCU Mk10.

          The double ramps are for thru-vessel serial-loading/unloading, without having to reverse the craft into the mothership or beach.

          However, NOTHING on Skjold is 'new' or innovative.

          For the development of SES and sidewall hovercraft, try googling Hovercraft Development Ltd and HD-1 (1959), Hovermarine and HM-2, (~1965), BMT (formerly BSRA/NMI), ANVCE (from 70's & 80's), etc.

          Denny's only constructed the HD-1 on behalf of HDL, the cited Denny's D2 was a development from the HD-1.

          Nobody but yourself, is claiming/infering that PACSCAT FLC is a first-ashore craft, nor one operable without first establishing airspace exclusivity.

          Remind me, just how many recent invasion exercises has Norway managed to repulse/win ? ;-)

    3. Anonymous Coward

      @Trygve - GAFC

      Skjold can carry how many -

      - Challenger main battle tanks ? (1 MBT)

      - ATVs/LAVs ? (5 off)

      - Persons ? (lots)

      - Tonnes of payload ? (72 tonnes)

      PACSCAT is F/A like Skjold other than they both float.

      PACSCAT FLC is a concept demonstration craft only, (FLC == Fast Landing Craft). Its an improvement on the RN LCU Mk10 allowing the parent vessel to stand further offshore.

      PACSCAT FLC is a military offshoot from an EU road-transport reduction initiative, redirecting heavy-lorry cargo onto fast-barge transports.


  12. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Proposed abbreviation

    As the term "semi-hovership" sounds too cumbersome I propose to use the abbreviated form - "semi-ho".

  13. Anonymous Coward


    sounds like a bag of sh1t to me

  14. The Indomitable Gall

    Sea State 2

    "Sea State 2" sounds like something from a post-thermogeddon-sci-fi... wait... you made me think of Waterworld. Have you any idea how much hypnotherapy it took to forget that cinematic abomination?!?!?!?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Sea State 2

      <Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen>

      Oh, would you look at the state of that sea? Doesn't anyone tidy up once in a while? Terrible colour combinations it's got going there too and what's with those waves I *have* to ask? Very 1970's, I'm sure......

      </Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen>

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think it's

    Al Fawr...

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Sea State 2?

    Lets see how they do in States 4-6... (going a bit green thinking about it)

    But... but.. where's the Transport Helicopters/Chinook/US angle?

    Mine's the one with the seaweed in the pocket...

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