UK Helicopter Search And Rescue Ops ‘Sold’ – 250313 2320z

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Sunday Times suggests SAR contract win for Bristow

Submitted by Waypoint on Tue, 03/19/2013 – 11:55
Rescue 169 Brecon Beacons

“In an article published on 17 March, the Sunday Times newspaper announced that Bristow Helicopters is set to win a 3bn contract to take over Britains search and rescue service. On 18 March, the Financial Times repeated the claim that Bristow had won out, but valued the contract at 3.1 billion. First announced in November 2011, the process is aimed at replacing the UKs current mix of military and contract civilian search and rescue (SAR) helicopter cover with either one or two civilian providers. Bidders were invited to bid for Lot 1, covering northern bases, Lot 2, covering southern bases, or Lot 3, covering all bases. The field has narrowed progressively throughout the bidding process, leaving just Bristow Helicopters and Bond Offshore Helicopters in the running; most recently, CHC left the process in January. Sunday Times journalist Karl West, who broke the news, would not reveal the source of the information, and also declined to comment on whether the win referred to Lot 1, 2 or 3. However, the Department for Transport has previously valued Lot 3 at between 2 and 3 billion, which matches the figure quoted by West. A spokesperson for Bristow Helicopters was not able to confirm or deny the suggestion. Neither was Bond able to comment. The Department for Transports timescale to announce the winner has been officially stated as spring 2013. Asked whether a winner had been chosen, a spokesperson said: All information surrounding this procurement is commercially confidential. An announcement will be made in due course. – Waypoint Tags:

Update 25 Apr 2013:

A selection of press reports….

UK Helicopter Search And Rescue Ops ‘Sold’

The sale to a US company brings to an end 70 years of Sea King search operations by the RAF and the Royal Navy.

Emergency service volunteers are winched on to an RAF search and rescue Sea King helicopter from Lake Bala during an exercise in north Wales

RAF Sea King helicopters have been running rescue operations for 70 years

By Alistair Bunkall, Defence Correspondent

The Government is selling off UK helicopter search and rescue operations to a US-based company, according to Sky sources.

The Bristow Group, which is headquartered in Texas, has won the contract to run the service from 2015 to 2026.

The exact value of the deal has not been confirmed, but it is expected to be in the region of 3bn.

An official announcement by the Government will be made at 7am on Tuesday before the stock market opens.

It marks the end of 70 years of search and rescue operations by the RAF and Navy.

The distinct yellow RAF Sea King helicopters and grey and red Navy versions were already due to retire from service in 2016.

Upkeep costs and the cost of extending their life has been deemed too expensive.

The move is also in keeping with a wider re-shaping of the military in the face of budget cuts and the 2014 withdrawal from Afganistan.

But the Sea King has been the work-horse of the skies, both in a combat and peacetime capacity, and whatever the merits of this decision, it will be missed by many.

Few other aircraft have so many memorable moments associated with them but the Sea King will long be remembered for its part in the Falklands conflict and the Fastnet race in 1979 when it helped rescue sailors from ferocious seas.

Bristow will operate the service using Sikorsky S-92 and Augusta Westland 189 helicopters.

It is understood that the technology they will introduce is so advanced that the US State Department had to give its approval for it to be used in the UK.

Bristow already provides transport services in the UK to ferry oil-rig workers to and from North Sea platforms.

The company has had a presence in Europe for more than 50 years and also operates in Australia, West Africa, Russia and Malaysia in addition to North America.

Govt to announce sell-off of Search and Rescue service

“The government is set to announce that Britain’s Search and Rescue service is to be sold off to an American firm.

Up until now, the operation has been run by the RAF, Navy and Coastguard Agency.

The firm will actually be awarded two contracts, because the service has been separated into two parts operating different types of helicopter.

An announcement is expected just before the stock market opens in the morning.” – by – Deputy Political Editor

Britain’s Helicopter Search And Rescue To Be Sold To US Company, Bristow Group

PA | Posted: 25/03/2013 22:14 GMT|Updated: 25/03/2013 22:16 GMT PA

“A US-based company is to take over Britain’s helicopter search and rescue operations, it has been reported.

The government has awarded the contract to run the service to the Bristow Group, which has its headquarters in Texas, Sky News reported.

raf search and rescue

Bristow is expected to replace the current RAF and Navy helicoptersThe broadcaster said an announcement – ending 70 years of search and rescue operations by the RAF and Royal Navy – would be made before the stock market opens on Tuesday.

The contract – which runs from 2015 to 2026 – is reported to be worth in the region of Ł3 billion.

Bristow is said to be planning replace the ageing RAF and Navy Sea King helicopters with faster, more efficient Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland 189s.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are due to make an announcement soon.”” – Huffpost



UK Government plan to close 50% of UK Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres Updated 07 Feb 2013 0001Z: Privatising Search and Rescue: Could this be the coalition governments biggest cock-up yet?: Support flaring for Clyde Coastguard, Scotland Published 03 Sept 2012 1440Z:

The Big Picture

American firm to operate Portland Coastguard helicopter

I have warned about this before.

Her Majesty’s Coastguard Service has warned of this many, many times.

Now it is here.

Apparently American company Bristow is due to be announced as the winning bidder in the fight to take over the Coastguard Helicopter at Portland with a bid worth £3 Billion.

The rescue service is currently run jointly by the RAF, the Royal Navy and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The Portland Coastguard helicopter faces the axe in 2017 under government cost-cutting plans to relocate it to Lee-on-Solent.

More than 18,000 people have signed an e-petition to Save Portland Helicopter.

This is the thin end of a very thick wedge. Be under no illusions. Private companies exist to serve their shareholders. Their primary objective is to make a profit.

Public sector services do not work like that and it’s about time the…

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