This hovercraft is the western direct equivalent of Soviet Tsaplya class, developed for the same mission. Hellenic Hoverwork was established in late 1960's to built under lisence British hovercrafts SR.N6 and BH.7 for RHN. Several SR.N6 were also built as civilian vessels, plus a domestic civilian commercial hovercraft based on experience from license built BH.7*. British offered a variant of VT.2 originally back in early 1980's, but RHN turned down the offer, because wanted an ACV capable of transfering one MBT or three IFVs, more or less 50 tons weight.The vessel was also required to loaded on an domestic LPD, which was on development to replace the WW2 vintage Casa Grande Class LSDs (3 ships, Nafkratousa Class) from early 1990s and also capable of minelaying. Prototype vessel was built in 1990-92 and tested until 1996, together with its sister second prototype from 1993, shown impressive performance. Ten more built until 2008, the prototypes also entered service after rebuilt. The MRL can lowered inside like in Zubr class for reloading with 12 more rockets behing it, from a magazine similar with M77 or RM70. The hovercaft has also a rear ramp door for minelaying (40-50 mines can be loaded, depending on size) and a vehicle is capable of driving through it, like in US LCAC. An unusual feature of LCAC(HL) is that the bow lid which locks the front ramp closed is designed to rise a bit for unlocling ramp and then slides back instead of opening upwards as in Tsaplya.
The 30mm gatlings are of a domestic design, firing 30x170 rounds (ARIS 6-30G1) and 30x173 (ARIS 6-30G2), based on M61 Vulcan. The gun itself was planned to used also on a domestic CIWS, but teething problems inluding excessive vibration under fire prevent this. Firing rate was reduced to 2,500 rpm and the mount was redesigned 2 times before working properly. Even though the ARIS 6-30G (Gatling) is less acurrate than Avenger Gatling, is fairly good for firing support.
*The commercial variant had a bit smaller hull, same prop/rudder configuration with the military variant and powered by quadruple Lycoming TF25. Passenger capacity was 260. Only 4 built in early to mid 1980's for the sole hovercraft operator in Hellenic Kingdom, the Ionian Hoverlines (1967-present). Today however only SES vessels are in service, last real hovercrafts withdrew in 2000. Ionian Hoverlines had also 3 SR.N4 Mk2 in service, while first commercial SES entered service in 1989-90 (license built norwegian vessels). Competion was mainly Cometa and Kolhida hydrofoils (Ionian Flying Dolphins) and Italian RHS-160/RHS-200 from another company.
Builder : Hellenic Hoverwork, Demetrias city*
Ships in Class : 12
Dimensions : 34.9m X 14.8m X 11.65m
Full displacement : 180 tn
Useful load (normal) : 60 tn
Propuslion : 4 X Allison 570KF (25,400 hp total)
Speed (calm water, 60 tn load) : >55kn
Range: 240nm at 55kn with 60tn load
2 X 30mm Gatling guns (6 x 30) with 2,000 rounds each
24 X 128 MRL (2 x 12, 48 rockets total with reloader)
2 X SADRAL (12 Mistral missiles)
* Demetrias (Δημητριάδα) was in real world a Hellenistic/Roman City near the today city of Volos. Another well known ancient city near by is Iolkos, from where the Argonauts started their quest for the Golden Fleech.