Civil/Military Future for British SAR
Further details have been announced about the future of the UK’s helicopter search-and-rescue service. From 2012, the Ministry of Defence and Maritime and Coastguard Agency will jointly manage a “harmonized” operation under a private finance initiative, with Royal Navy and Royal Air Force crews working alongside their civilian counterparts in common aircraft types.
Currently, the Navy and RAF run eight out of 12 SAR units around the British coastline with military Sea Kings, while Bristow Helicopters flies four civil S-61Ns at the others under contract to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. However, as an interim step beginning next year, two S-92s and two AW139s operated by CHC will replace the Bristow Helicopters.