UK Government Cancels SAR-H after Bidder Misconduct

 - February 19, 2011, 4:45 AM

The UK Ministry of Defence and Department for Transport (DfT) last week canceled the SAR-H search-and-rescue helicopter program after Soteria, the preferred bidder, acknowledged some employee misconduct. The Royal Bank of Scotland has left the Soteria consortium, which now regroups operator CHC, training and aircraft equipment specialist Thales and helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky. According to the DfT, in mid-December Soteria voluntarily informed the government of irregularities. These included access to commercially sensitive information and assistance from a former member of the MoD-DfT’s project team. CHC has now made it public that, in November, it became aware that “a small number of its employees, acting without its knowledge or authorization of the company’s senior management,” might have violated the company’s standard of ethics during the competitive bid process. Service provision was pegged to begin in 2012 with Sikorsky S-92 medium twins. Today’s aging Sikorsky S-61 Sea Kings were due to be phased out by 2016. The program was estimated to approximately GBP6 billion ($10 billion) over 25 years.