SR.N6 ‘Winchester’ class air-cushion vehicle

SR-N6

SR.N 6 ‘Winchester’ is the military variant of the widely-used SR.N6 fast ferry. It can be used in the logistics role over swampy terrain or as here, as a fast coastal patrol craft’ It can be armed with20-mm cannon or with short-range SSMs.

Designed originally as a fast ferry for operations in sheltered waters, the BHC SR.N6’Winchester’ class ACV has evolved into a number of variants over the years. Although extensively tested by the Royal Navy and British army all over the world including the FalkIands, the SR.N6 craft used were sold in 1982 following the demise of the Hovercraft Trials Unit. The basic SR.N6 Mk I can accommodate either 38 Passengers or 3 tons of supplies, and is in use with the Egyptian Navy (one) and the Royal Saudi Arabian Frontier Force and Coast Guard (eight) This model was followed by the wholly military logistic support SR.N6 Mk 2 and SR.N6 Mk 3 variants, which feature a roof loading hatch and speciality strengthened side decks for long loads weighing up to 0.5 ton; a roof-mounted armament of one7.62- or 12.7-mm (0,3′ or 0.5-in) machine-gun is carried for defensive purposes. The maximum payload is increased to 5 tons of supplies or between 20 and 30 fully armed troops, Only the Egyptian (two Mk 2s) and Iranian (two Mk 2s) navies have this type in service, though the former has had all three of its SR,N6s modified to carry six 500-kg (1,105{b) ground mines if required. The Iranian Navy also had six SR.N6 Mk 4 variants in service. These are used for coastal defence duties and can carry either a 20-mm cannon or SS, 12 wire-guided missiles as alternatives to the more usual 7, 62-mm medium machine-guns. The Iraqi customs service also used the same hovercraft, but as the SR.N6 Mk 6C general-purpose model, with a larger cabin to accommodate up to 55 passengers or between 5 and 6 tons of supplies. Six were in use, and are known to have been used for combat duties in the Gulf War.

Saudi Arabia also has eight units of the SR.N6 Mk 8 type in service. This is the latest of the military variants to be produced: it can carry up to 55 fully-equipped troops in the assault role, or have the same armament alternatives as the Mk 4 when used as a patrol craft It differs from the earlier variants in having only a single propeller and the addition of two air conditioning units on the roof aft of the cockpit.

The original prototype SR.N6 Mk.1 (009) is currently on display at the Hovercraft Museum in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, England. With 22,000 hours of service over a twenty year period it is the world’s most extensively operated hovercraft. The museum has several other SR.N6 on display or in various states of restoration. One is operational and occasionally used for demonstrations.

Specifications

SR.N6 Mk. 1S Winchester Class – SR.N6 Mk 8 (in production)

Designer / Manufacturer: Saunders-Roe, (later British Hovercraft Corporation)

Crew 3

Dimensions

Length 17.78 metres

Width 7.97 metres

Height (on cushion) 6.32 meters

Full load displacement 10.9 tons

Propulsion

Motor: gas turbine engine

Power: 1 Rolls-Royce Gnome turbine engines 1050 horsepower for lift and propulsion

Propellers: 1 four bladed variable pitch propeller

Performance

Speed 50 knots

Range 170 miles at 30 knots

Military Lift: 55 fully equipped troops or 6 tons of equipment

Weapons

Either a ring-mounted machine gun (0.5in or 7.62 mm) or short range wire guided surface-to-surface missiles mounted on the side decks.

Hovercraft Museum

 

 

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