UK SAR-H Project Goes Ahead


Released on Tuesday, May 9, 2006
United Kingdom
SH-3 Sea King
MCA - Maritime Coastguard Agency
SAR - Search and Rescue
SAR-H - Search and Rescue Helicopter
UK - United Kingdom
The Ministry of Defence and the Department for Transport have today announced that the Joint Search and Rescue Helicopter (SAR-H) Project is entering into its next stage. Together the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will provide a helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR) capability for the UK well into the 21st century.

Lord Drayson, Minister for Defence Procurement and Stephen Ladyman, the Minister with responsibility for shipping have approved SAR-H going forward as a joint MOD/MCA Private Finance Initiative competition. This important step will bring greater benefits to UK SAR operations as a whole.

The MOD and MCA together provide a 24-hour military and civil helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR) service for the UK SAR Region from 12 bases around the UK. Currently this SAR helicopter service is provided by Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Sea Kings and civilian helicopters under contract to the MCA.

It is planned to replace this capability with a single contract that will still however retain a high proportion of military aircrew alongside civilian aircrew trained to the same high standards. The service will continue to be managed jointly by the MOD and the MCA.

Although decisions regarding helicopters, basing and contract duration have yet to be taken and will now be subject to dialogue with industry, the SAR-H project has developed a detailed requirement specification to ensure that all aspects of the service requirement are met. Key performance indicators will be set and performance measured against these to ensure the high level of service is maintained.

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