Nicolas Lévy CollectionHSC Swift (GH 2004), Past and Present

HSC Swift (GH 2004)

Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

“Mountbatten” (SRN4) Mk I Hovercraft built in 1969 by British Hovercraft Corporation, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, England (Yard No 002) for Hoverlloyd Ltd., Ramsgate, England

Technical Data

  • Length: 130.2 ft (39.68m) overall 56.40 m (1969)
  • Beam: 78 ft (23.77m) overall (1969)
  • Height on landing pads: 37.8 ft (11.48m) overall
  • Passenger/vehicle floor area: 5,800 sq. ft.(539 sq. m.)
  • Vehicle deck headroom: 11.6 ft (3.51m)
  • Bow door (height x width): 11.6 ft x 18 ft (3.51m x 5.48m)
  • Stern door (height x width): 11.6 ft x 31 ft (3.51m x 9.45m)
  • Skirt length: 8 ft (2.44m)
  • Main Engines: 4 Rolls Royce ‘Marine Proteus’ gas turbines (1969). Max. continuous rating at 15 degrees Cent – 3,400 shp (3447 c.v.) each (1969)
  • Auxiliary power units: 2 Rover 1S/90 gas turbines (55KVA each)
  • Propellers: 4 Hawker Siddeley Dynamics 4 blade variable-pitch propellers with a 19 ft diameter (5.79m)
  • Lift Fans: 4 BHC, 12 blade, centrifugal, 11.6 ft diameter (3.5m)
  • Fuel capacity: 4,500 Imp Gall (20.456 litres)
  • Tonnage: 168 tons (170.7 tonnes) (1969), 300 (1978)
  • Max speed over calm water: 60-65 knots (111-120 km./hr.)
  • Average service speed: 40-50 knots (74-93 km./hr)
  • Stopping distance from 50 knots: 700 yards (640m)
  • Range: at 10 tons fuel, 40-50 knots – 100-125 n.m. (185-230km.)
  • Range: at 16 tons fuel, 40-50 knots – 160-200 n.m. (300-370 km.)
  • Capacity: 254 passengers, 30 cars (1969).282 passengers, 37 cars ( 1972)
  • Sister Vessels: Sure, Prince of Wales, Sir Christopher


January 17th 1969: Trials.

January 1969: Delivered to Hoverlloyd Ltd., Ramsgate, England.

January 23rd 1969: Christened by Mrs Mary Wilson, wife of Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Nicolas Lévy Collection  Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection  Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection  Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

April 2nd 1969: Inaugural crossing  Ramsgate – Calais.

© Fotoflite  © Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite, Nicolas Lévy Collection

November 29th 1969: Both SWIFT and SURE are grounded after a propeller flies from SWIFT, the Ramsgate craft causing some £50,000 of damage to the Pegwell Bay Hoverport.

Courtesy of Julien Havart  Courtesy of Julien Havart

Courtesy of Julien Havart

🆕Courtesy of Julien Havart

Nicolas Lévy Collection  Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

November 1970: Stranded at Sandgatte, near Calais, with most of her skirt ripped away.

Nicolas Lévy Collection  Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

September 1972: To Cowes for conversion to Mk II.

January 1973: Returned to service.

1973-4: Hoverlloyd’s three craft individually upgraded to Mk II specifications, widening of passenger area and car deck to make full use of available space.

October 25th 1981: Registered to Hoverspeed Ltd., Dover, England. Commenced Dover – Calais/ Boulogne.

August 31st 1982: Torn skirt and beaches near Calais. Passengers and cars offloaded onto beach.

June 1986: Sale of Hoverspeed to Sea Containers.

July 10th 1987: Services from Ramsgate cease. Moved to Dover.

© Ken Smith  © Ken Smith

© Ken Smith

🆕© Ken Smith (Dover, 23/07/1987)

Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

September 29th 1991: Final day in service.

October 11th 1991: Laid up in Dover and offered for sale.

Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

May 25th 1994: Donated to Hovercraft Museum, Gosport.

Nicolas Lévy Collection  Nicolas Lévy Collection

Nicolas Lévy Collection

September 2004: Broken up.

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Ju;ien Havart, Nicolas Lévy and Ken Smith for their assistance in compiling this feature.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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