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Hydrofoil Craft

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what official United Kingdom experiments have been made with hydrofoil ships; what were the results; what were the maximum speeds obtained; and what are the plans for future development of ships with under-water wings.

No research work specifically concerned with hydrofoil craft has been carried out since the war by D.S.I.R. Some experiments have been made at the National Physical Laboratory to measure the performance characteristics of foil sections considered suitable for propeller blades. The results so obtained are of general value and can be applied to non-cavitating type foils for hydrofoil craft.

Is it not astonishing that a country with our maritime traditions has done virtually nothing in this field, in view of reports of what has been achieved in Scandinavia and, indeed, in the United States, where they are already contemplating quite large sea-going vessels travelling at very high speeds indeed?

I do not think it is fair to say that we have done nothing in this country, since the National Physical Laboratory has undertaken basic investigation into fully cavitating and ventilated hydrofoils. I would also remind my hon. Friend that this country holds the world's water speed record with Bluebird, which uses hydrofoils.