Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hovercraft firm's £34m Indian coastguard order

Hovercraft assisting in international emergency
Image caption The deal will see the creation of 110 jobs and a move to a larger factory

A Hampshire-based hovercraft manufacturer has secured the UK's largest ever order.

The £34m deal, between Griffon Hoverwork, based at Hythe, near Southampton, and the Indian coastguard, will see a dozen vessels built over three years.

The announcement was made by Business Secretary Vince Cable in Delhi.

The firm confirmed it would create 110 jobs and it now plans to move to a bigger site at Merlin Quay, Woolston.

Adrian Went, managing director, said: "I am delighted with the successful conclusion of this contract.

"It represents a huge amount of work by the Griffon Hoverwork team, particularly over the last 18 months and it's a clear signal that the company is held in extreme high regard on the international stage."

The model which will be built is a popular craft for Coastguard operations, as it can be configured to carry passengers, vehicles and equipment for disaster relief or medical evacuation.

Dr Cable, who joined Prime Minister David Cameron on a two-day visit to strengthen relations with the country, said: "This contract is a very significant step for this Southampton-based firm.

"Patrolling a coastline as long as that of India is a huge challenge and I am delighted that a UK firm has been selected to help the Indian coastguard in this task.

"I wish the company every success in their future, and hope this partnership leads on to further cooperation."

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