Paramount to distribute Griffon Hoverwork hovercraft

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Under an agreement to be finalised at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in the United Kingdom today, Paramount Group will market Griffon hovercraft in Africa while Griffon will market Paramount naval designs to the UK Ministry of Defence and other customers in Europe.

A joint press release said the partnership would see the companies help each other develop in country manufacturing and support facilities and work together on the prototyping of innovative air cushion technology products. They will also work on ways on financing in all global markets.

Ivor Ichikowitz, Paramount’s Executive Chairman said in a release ahead of the signing that “Forging strategic partnerships that result in new market opportunities, increased growth, stronger product portfolios and continuous innovation have always been at the core of Paramount’s expansion strategy. Partnering with Griffon Hoverwork is therefore not only of great significance but a natural step in boosting our global naval capabilities.
“The Hovercraft range is an exciting addition to our existing product range, as hovercraft are able to operate over almost any surface including shallow water, ice, vegetation, mud, logs, debris, rapids and flood plains and are used in a variety of security and military operations around the world.”

The deal is a clear show of Paramount’s big ambitions to be a player in wide variety of defence technologies. It might also be a sign that Paramount has already found African customers who are keen to look at hovercraft technology to operate in difficult coastal, riverine, or vegetation environments. Paramount has two companies which operate in the marine environment – Paramount Naval Systems and Nautic Africa.

Griffon Hoverwork’s Managing Director Adrian Went is quoted in the release saying, “This is an exciting relationship for Griffon Hoverwork. Paramount brings excellent access to African and other international markets and their group capability will be a real asset to enable our product development and in-country manufacturing programmes. We are also very pleased to be able to take some of the robust and innovative Paramount product range into the European defence and security market; We believe these world class solutions will be very competitive.”

Griffon Hoverwork promoted its hovercraft for the first time at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) show in September last year after established a requirement for such vessels in Africa. The company said that Africa is a new market, but it has been in contact with some business partners in Nigeria and have established a need for hovercraft.

Griffon Hoverwork have been in operation for decades and offers a variety of hovercraft between 7 and 30 metres in length. Hovercraft offer many advantages compared to boats, vehicles and aircraft – by floating on a cushion of air, hovercraft are able to operate on most flat surfaces that are inaccessible to other vehicles.

Roles include logistical support, mobile medical clinics, oil spill response, passenger operations, search and rescue, hydrographic and survey work.

Griffon Hoverwork says its vessels are faster than most conventional marine vessels, and are capable of travelling up to 45 knots with a full payload. The company adds that they are cheaper than helicopter and environmentally friendly as they don’t produce a big wake or penetrate the water.