A New Era

There’s been a revolution in helicopter search and rescue in the UK in recent years. Mark Broadbent looks at the S-92 and AW189 used by Bristow Helicopters


Where once Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Sea Kings provided helicopter search and rescue (SAR) coverage in the UK, now HM Coastguard Sikorsky S-92s and Leonardo Helicopters AW189s operated by Bristow Helicopters take the call.

The new arrangement began in April 2015 after the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2013 awarded Bristow a 25-year contract to provide helicopter SAR on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

The contract covers the provision of SAR to respond to all incidents for the whole of the UK, as well as the helicopters, crews, maintenance and ground facilities. Bristow now operates ten strategically located helicopter SAR bases around the UK, at Stornoway (Outer Hebrides), Sumburgh (Shetland Islands), Inverness, Prestwick, Caernarfon, Humberside Airport, St Athan, Newquay, Lee-on-Solent and Lydd.

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