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Subsea Craft have designed and built the ‘world’s first operational surface-submersible’.

The £10m Victa prototype is a 12-metre craft that can accommodate eight divers and travel up to 40 knots (46mph) with its 533kW engine. It can then dive within two minutes and travel underwater, meaning it is ideal for releasing or picking up divers discreetly.

Sea trials have started at Subsea Craft’s new base at the Ben Ainslie Racing building in Old Portsmouth and if successful, the boat will enable naval frogmen to travel 250 nautical miles on the surface before before diving underwater for a further 25.

Subsea Craft have recently moved into the Ben Ainslie building on the Camber in Old Portsmouth.

Mr Verney, MD of Subsea Craft said: ‘Portsmouth is the heart of maritime heritage for us. Being right on the water, being near the heritage itself gives us that visibility.’ ‘The sustainability of us as a maritime technology business in Portsmouth is really important,’ he added.

‘Not just from a jobs perspective, but also long-term bringing global high-tech to the area. This is for the long term, it’s high-tech and it’s maritime, and it’s in the heart of the maritime city.’

The 12-metre craft can accommodate eight divers and travel up to 40 knots (46mph) with its 533kW engine.

It can then dive within two minutes and travel underwater, meaning it is ideal for releasing or picking up divers discreetly

While well suited to being used on military missions, it could also be used for research or leisure purposes and in the offshore wind industry.

The company says it will collaborate with clients to make sure each craft is built to match their needs. Each one will cost roughly £10m.

The firm aims to collaborate with local businesses and groups wherever possible. currently employs 30 people, including several forces’ veterans, and says it is hoping to take on more staff.

‘We’re going to build loads of her, and we can’t do it with the 30 people we’ve got so we will definitely be growing over the next two to three years, and we’ve taken on space, this space is much bigger than what we need right now, precisely because we’re going to be growing.’

‘We’re recruiting, we’re building, we’re growing and we’re making something that is globally-leading, which hopefully brings real kudos to the city.’

There is hope for Portsmouth after Ben Ainslie

 



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