It's Goodbye Rescue Sea Kings
MOD announces privatisation of search and rescue helicopter fleet starting in 2012. New colours too..
Posted: 10 February 2010
RAF and Royal Navy search
and rescue helicopters
are set to be replaced by a fleet of aircraft
run by a private consortium
over the next decade, the
Ministry of Defence announced yesterday.
Starting from 2012, Sikorsky helicopters run by the Soteria
Consortium will be gradually phased in to replace the existing Sea
Kings with the crews being a mixture of military aircrew and civillians
' trained to the same high standards'.
The new service will still be run from 12 bases to give coverage right
across the UK and the MOD is confident that the new Sikorsky S92
helicopters currently used successfuly in the oil and gas industry and
ith the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) on Shetland and the Isle
of Lewis in Northern Scotland will be well up to the job.
The S92 is 30% faster than the Sea King and has an extended range. It
can carry six seated passengers and two on stretchers in search and
rescue mode. They also have better low level overland night-time
Last but not least, it'll be goodbye to the familiar yellow livery and
hello to a black and orange design which will 'maximise visibility
[and] signal that this is an emergency service'.
The contract is set to be finalised and awarded later this year. The
MOD emphasises that: 'The Maritime and Coastguard Agency manage a SAR
service from their four bases that has already been successfully
delivered by a contractor for over 20 years and the new service will
build on this proven track record'.
For more details see the full press release at nds.coi.gov.uk
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