Bristow Wins Gen 2 UK SAR Contract

 - July 21, 2022, 12:19 PM
Bristow will add bases and helicopters following the award of a search and rescue contract with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency. (Photo: Bristow Group)

Bristow Helicopters has been awarded a $1.9 billion, 10-year contract for the Second-Generation Search and Rescue Aviation (UKSAR2G) program by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), an executive agency of the Department for Transport. The contract combines the existing two separate aviation contracts for airplanes and helicopters and will include the use of uncrewed aerial systems (UAS).

As part of the new contract, Bristow will continue to operate from their current 10 bases and will launch two new seasonal summer bases in Fort William and Carlisle that will operate 12 hours a day from April to September. All other bases will continue to be operational 24 hours a day.

Bristow will work in partnership with 2Excel Aviation, a leading specialist in fixed-wing aerospace services, and Nova Systems, the consortium's innovation partner, to deliver the contract for the MCA on behalf of Her Majesty's Coastguard. The partners will operate 18 helicopters, including nine existing Leonardo AW189s and three existing Sikorsky S-92s augmented by the introduction of six new Leonardo AW139 helicopters; six King Airs, including the B350, B350ER, and B200 models at Doncaster, Prestwick and Newquay; and one Schiebel Camcopter S-100 UAS. Bristow also will provide a new search and rescue helicopter simulation training facility at Solent Airport, next to the Coastguard training facility, that will house a synthetic rescue hoist and helicopter suspended over a large training pool. 

Since 2013 and 2019, respectively, Bristow and 2Excel have operated search and rescue services for the UK in the original SAR and aerial surveillance contracts. The companies have rescued more than 4,500 people over the past seven years and will transition from the current contracts starting from Sept. 30, 2024, through to Dec. 31, 2026.