The Moroccan Marine Police have recently ordered two Griffon 500TD hovercraft, to be used along Morocco’s 1,835 km coastline bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Griffon 500TD will be launched in March 2010 and replaces the ever popular and successful 470TD. This state of the art craft grew out of the 470TD and is a twin diesel-engined craft capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots (35 mph, 55kms/hr) designed for amphibious operations in protected waters. Seating 6-8 people, including the driver, or carrying a total of 470kgs (1036lbs) of payload, this highly manoeuverable small hovercraft will operate where no boat can venture – over land, shallow water, sand banks, mud flats, rocks, weed, logs, debris and rapids.
It is Morocco’s strategic position on one side of the Strait of Gibraltar and large, mainly unexplored coastline that has made the purchase of hovercraft essential. The shallow water and exposed position make operation of conventional craft difficult, yet is suitable terrain for hovercraft, making the 500TD an ideal choice for the Marine Police.
Originally conceived as a search and rescue craft, where manoeuvrability in small, remote shallow waters is paramount, the 500TD is designed with a ‘get-you-home’ capability on only one engine.
Like all Griffon Hoverwork hovercraft, the 500TD is able to perform virtually any role undertaken by a conventional workboat i.e. crash rescue, survey, dredging and civil engineering support, military and paramilitary duties. Unlike a workboat, however, the 500TD needs no piers, pontoons or deep water channels – it will operate from unprepared riverbanks, beaches and fields. This small unique twin diesel-engined craft is the most advanced hovercraft of its size available in the world today.