Hampshire’s SR.N5 Hovercraft receives top engineering honour

The SR.N5 Hovercraft at Lee-on-the-Solent’s Hovercraft Museum joins the likes of Tower Bridge and the E-Type Jaguar

The Saunders Roe Nautical 5 (SR.N5) Hovercraft, on display at Lee-on-the-Solent’s Hovercraft Museum, received an Engineering Heritage Award from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on Friday 13 September.

Previous winners of these awards include the E-Type Jaguar, Tower Bridge and the Vulcan Bomber.

The award was given to the SR.N5, built in 1963, in recognition of it being the first mass produced hovercraft in the world. Fourteen SR.N5s were produced but this is the last example of this groundbreaking hovercraft left in the world.

The award was presented by Prof Isobel Pollock, Immediate Past President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, to Warwick Jacobs, Trustee of the Hovercraft Museum, at a special ceremony.

Prof Pollock, Immediate Past President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said commenting on the SR.N5:

“The Saunders Roe Nautical 5 hovercraft is a unique example of British design and engineering innovation. It was this cutting edge craft that spread the use of hovercraft around the world for civilian and military use.

“This is the last SR.N5 hovercraft of its kind anywhere in the world, and it is a privilege to be able to see our engineering heritage in such fantastic condition.

“This award celebrates the SR.N5’s status as the first mass-produced hovercraft but is also in recognition of the fantastic work of the Hovercraft Museum to restore and preserve the craft.”

Warwick Jacobs, Trustee of the Hovercraft Museum said:

“It’s a great honour for the SR.N5 to receive this Engineering Heritage Award.

“The SR.N5 hovercraft is not just the world’s first production hovercraft, it was the craft that started the Museum in 1986.

“This wonderful example of British engineering was originally due to be scrapped in the early 1980s. Happily we were able to rescue and restore it, and I hope it will be admired and enjoyed by visitors and enthusiast for many years to come.”

The SR.N5 is powered by a 900 horsepower Bristol Siddeley Gnome Gas Turbine. This particular craft was used to demonstrate SR.N5 worldwide and to train pilots. 

SR.N5 were used as far afield as Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei and were also used by the US Navy during the Vietnam War.

For more information about the Hovercraft Museum:


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