James Bonds aquatic car is REAL and its about to spearhead Global Britain – Express

And, with Portsmouth-based manufacturer SubSea Craft already taking orders, defence ministries around the world including the MoD are paying close attention. The £10m craft is described as the world’s only “next-generation diver delivery system” and bristles with innovation. On the surface, its diesel-powered engine and powerful water jets can achieve an astonishing 40 knots top speed and offer a range of 250 nautical miles.

But it is when it approaches a target that the Victa comes to the fore. With the press of a button it submerges, water filling its tanks and the cabin where eight SBS operatives, including a pilot and copilot, already wearing breathing apparatus, are ready for action.

And it can make the transition in just two minutes.

Its Global Britain credentials go beyond its military application, however, with technological breakthroughs provided by some of the UK’s most innovative firms.

Just seven years ago the company’s founder, Graham Allen, began work in his shed on an idea that he first had a child after watching a James Bond Film.

A successful prototype was built, but the catamaran was too heavy.

Now its latest incarnation sees a sleek monohull vessel with an enclosed carbon fibre shell.

The transformation was achieved by the “computer fluid dynamics” provided by BAR Technologies, the company founded by British yachting champion Sir Ben Ainslie which utilises streamlining technology developed for America’s Cup racing.

Its bespoke navigation system is provided by Yately-based Sonardyne.

And Victa’s heart – its aeroplane-like fly by wire control system which delivers dynamic stability in all conditions and allows the crew to better focus on their mission – comes from UK firm SCISYS, which was subsequently taken over by Canadian multinational CGI.

The suite of next-generation bespoke software offers its operators contact with a home base and an array of assets ranging from sonar to individual communication systems with which the pilot can relay changes in orders and check on the status of his SBS comrades.

“The idea was to create a hybrid between a long-range insertion craft and diver delivery. While our key market is the defence industry, that’s not to say we don’t have interest elsewhere, from the offshore/onshore energy sector, scientific research and even extreme sports,“ said CEO Scott Verney.

He added: “Defence here is undergoing an evolution in terms of procurement. And the importance placed on Global Britain being agile is also important.

“Government support appears to be greater for businesses like ours who are talking to other nations and want to export our goods or want them to be built under licence. There’s momentum and support now that the industry hasn’t enjoyed before.”

Maritime UK CEO Ben Murray said:” This is exactly the niche, high-value innovation, in the Maritime sphere, research and science that will drive Global Britain forward through exports.

“Companies like Subsea Craft fuse automation with a more sustainable way of moving and, in doing this, grow what has organically developed around the UK.”

This week sees two global conferences descend on London:  Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) expo and International Shipping Week.

“Though the Government will have to drastically increase its wartime investment to £500 next year if we are to keep up with our competitors, there is a real sense that we are heading in the right direction,’ added Murray.

“The Artemis zero-emission hydrofoil ferries created by the Belfast Maritime Consortium will be in the water next year. They will move people from city to city and get them off congested roads and it will be a world first.

“This was only possible because half their funding, around £60m, was from the Government. This show-off faith. Incentivises the private sector, which generally matches government investment pound for pound.

“Ultimately, the Government knows that our maritime sector is uniquely placed to deliver against a whole swathe of government priorities, from levelling up to net zero and exports.

“When we reach the Government’s own export target of 30-35 pc GDP – which will mean £14.5bn to the Maritime industry – we’ll know we’ve made it.”

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