UK-based Bristow Helicopters, an affiliate of the Texas-based Bristow Group, today announced a 10-year contract with the UK’s Department for Transport for search-and-rescue (SAR) services for all of the country. The $2.5 billion agreement has a phased-in transition period beginning in April 2015 and continuing until July 2017.
Under the contract, Bristow will provide 11 Sikorsky S-92s and 11 AgustaWestland AW189 medium-twin helicopters across 10 UK bases. Each SAR base will operate either two S-92s or two AW189s. In addition, there will be two training aircraft.
The deal will “significantly reduce the UK government’s costs for the next decade,” said Bristow Group president and CEO William Chiles. Some of the military personnel currently involved in SAR in the UK will join the company to work under the new contract. Two years ago, a similar tender had not come to fruition, as the UK government had to cancel the “SAR-H” program after the preferred bidder, Soteria, acknowledged some employee misconduct.