End of RAF search and Rescue.......

#1
[h=1]Bristow Group 'to take over UK search and rescue'[/h]
Bristow has been awarded a fill-in contract to operate rescue

A US-based company is to take over Britain's helicopter search and rescue operations, the BBC understands.
A statement due before the London stock exchange opens on Tuesday is expected to confirm the Bristow Group has won the contract from 2015 to 2026.
It is understood the firm is planning to replace ageing RAF and Royal Navy Sea King helicopters with modern Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland 189s.
The contract will bring to an end 70 years of UK military search and rescue.
After 2017, military involvement in search and rescue will cease and a new civilian contract will come into force.
Bristow has already been preparing crews for coastguard duties at Sumburgh in Shetland and Stornoway in the Western Isles.
The UK's military and coastguard search and rescue helicopter service is also based at Culdrose, Wattisham, Valley, Boulmer, Portland, Lee-on-Solent, Chivenor, Leconfield, Lossiemouth and Prestwick.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "The department has been going through the procurement process and we're due to make an announcement soon."
The department began the procurement process in November 2011 for providing search and rescue (SAR) helicopter services on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
It wanted all-weather SAR helicopter service able to operate throughout the UK, including mountainous terrain and at sea.
According to Bristow's website, its helicopters and pilots have already rescued more than 7,000 people in the UK. It also operates in the Netherlands, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Russia, Brazil and Canada.




BBC News - Bristow Group 'to take over UK search and rescue'
 
#2
Bristow Group 'to take over UK search and rescue'

Bristow has been awarded a fill-in contract to operate rescue

A US-based company is to take over Britain's helicopter search and rescue operations, the BBC understands.
A statement due before the London stock exchange opens on Tuesday is expected to confirm the Bristow Group has won the contract from 2015 to 2026.
It is understood the firm is planning to replace ageing RAF and Royal Navy Sea King helicopters with modern Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland 189s.
The contract will bring to an end 70 years of UK military search and rescue.
After 2017, military involvement in search and rescue will cease and a new civilian contract will come into force.
Bristow has already been preparing crews for coastguard duties at Sumburgh in Shetland and Stornoway in the Western Isles.
The UK's military and coastguard search and rescue helicopter service is also based at Culdrose, Wattisham, Valley, Boulmer, Portland, Lee-on-Solent, Chivenor, Leconfield, Lossiemouth and Prestwick.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "The department has been going through the procurement process and we're due to make an announcement soon."
The department began the procurement process in November 2011 for providing search and rescue (SAR) helicopter services on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
It wanted all-weather SAR helicopter service able to operate throughout the UK, including mountainous terrain and at sea.
According to Bristow's website, its helicopters and pilots have already rescued more than 7,000 people in the UK. It also operates in the Netherlands, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Russia, Brazil and Canada.




BBC News - Bristow Group 'to take over UK search and rescue'
So where will military SAR pilots get their experience now? Ah, training exercises. How comforting for us all.
 
#4
As a civvie, this doesn't fill me with much confidence, at least with the RAF SAR operation you felt "safe" knowing it wasn't just money-grabbing company you were relying on to get you out of shit (yes yes i know the government are a bunch of money-grabbing cnuts but we don't get a say in that matter), least with RAF SAR, the subconscience safety was there i.e "these are trained professionals that do this for a living" not "these are minimum wage 'rent-a-cops' (or in the case of the new SAR operation: 'rent-a-rescuer'
 
#5
The government is set to announce plans to sell off Britain’s helicopter search and rescue operations – to a private American company based in Texas.
The controversial decision, expected at 7am tomorrow, marks the end of 70 years of RAF and Navy history.
The decision could leave all the future of all 275 military personnel who currently fly search and rescue - including RAF Sea King Pilot Prince William - in limbo.
Some will leave the armed services and join the new civilian operation – run by American firm the Bristow Group.
Others will be moved to different areas within the military, replacing servicemen sacked as part of the government’s cuts. Others could lose their jobs.
Ministers claim smaller, faster helicopters than the Sea Kings will save lives.
The famous yellow RAF Sea King helicopters and the grey and red Navy versions will be retired from service in 2016.
The Department for Transport, which is responsible for Britain’s search and rescue, claims the new civilian crews will be just as good as military personnel.
But there are worries that plans to cut two of the 12 search-and-rescue bases dotted around the coastline will leave some areas in the lurch.
And fears have been raised that private sector civilian pilots for the new company could be banned from flying in bad weather - because of health and safety.
Currently search and rescue helicopter teams work out of eight military bases and four civilian stations run on behalf of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
Under the new system two of the bases – RAF Boulmer in Northumberland and the coastguard base at Portland in Dorset – will be axed and all the rest transferred to the new company.
At half of the remaining 10 bases, smaller helicopters than the Sea Kings will be left, covering smaller areas.
US company, the Bristow Group, is expected to win a £3billion contract to run new search and rescue services from 2015 to 2026.
Bristow will operate the service using Sikorsky S-92 and Augusta Westland 189 helicopters.
The company already provides transport services in the UK to ferry oil-rig workers to and from North Sea platforms.
Prince William is due to finish his current role as a Search and Rescue Pilot this September.
He has yet to announce plans of what he will do next but options include becoming a full-time royal or combining royal duties with another role in the military.
The Duke of Cambridge is based at RAF Valley on Anglesey, North Wales, where he flies rescue missions for stranded mountaineers and sailors.
The second in line to the throne joined C Flight, 22 Squadron after graduating training in September 2010.
Helicopter search and rescue privatisation: Government to hand service to American company Bristow Group - Mirror Online

And from history:
£2bn search-and-rescue sell-off plan under threat after UK-led contender withdraws its bid

A multi-billion-pound deal to privatise Britain’s search-and-rescue service has been thrown into turmoil after the UK-led contender for the contract withdrew its bid.The decision by UK Air Rescue to pull out leaves two North American-led firms in the running to operate search-and-rescue (SAR) services across the country.
Ministry of Defence officials are holding urgent talks with the consortium that makes up UK Air Rescue to find out what made the deal - worth about £2billion over 25 years - so unattractive.

UK Air Rescue has withdrawn its bid for search-and-rescue services in Britain. The deal has been brought about by the need to replace distinctive Sea King helicopters which have been in service since 1977 (file picture)

The UK’s SAR service is run from 12 bases - six are operated by the RAF, two by the Royal Navy and four by the Marine Coastguard Agency.
Last night, Allan Blake, a director of Bristow Helicopters - part of the UK Air Rescue bid consortium along with Agusta Westland, Cobham and FB Heli Services - said: ‘We have no plans to re-enter the bidding process.

'We are still talking to the MoD about the reasons for that withdrawal. It is a very big statement to make when companies like these withdraw from a bid of this size.’
The then Defence Procurement Minister Lord Drayson announced in 2006 that SAR services would be privatised through a Private Finance Initiative scheme.
He invited firms to submit tenders for the contract, which will be awarded on November 13.
Bids were also received from Soteria - which brings together Canadian company CHC Scotia and French firm Thales - and the American Lockheed Martin-led Airknight Team, run in partnership with Vosper Thornycroft and British International Helicopters.
A source close to the bid said there were serious concerns among bidders about the viability of keeping all 12 bases open, one of the conditions laid down by the MoD.
There are also fears the contract does not take into account the widely fluctuating price of fuel.
During the past ten years military crews have been involved in almost 19,000 incidents, rescuing more than 15,200 people.
The decision to privatise has been brought about by the need to replace the fleet of Sea King helicopters, which have been in service since 1977.
Up to 40 new aircraft will be brought in to run the service when the contract comes into effect in 2012.
An MoD spokesman said: ‘The withdrawal of UK Air Rescue should not impact on the commencement of the harmonised service.’
£2bn search-and-rescue sell-off plan under threat after UK-led contender withdraws its bid | Mail Online 28 October 2008
 
#6
I can't see it being long before Bristow is offered a contract to be UK's Merchant Aviation and take over the helicopter transport roles of RN, RAF and Army.
 
#7
I can't see it being long before Bristow is offered a contract to be UK's Merchant Aviation and take over the helicopter transport roles of RN, RAF and Army.
Agree'd, this is an open door opportunity which I suspect given the lengthy contract the Government will monitor accordingly.
 
#8
FFS, if this has to happen, why does the government at least give the contract to a British company, so then at least it will be Brits running the show and it would be good for British business. I did wonder why I kept seeing so called "coastguard" helicopters etc with US coast guard colours, thought it was just the coast guard being pathetic and copying.
 
#11
FFS, if this has to happen, why does the government at least give the contract to a British company, so then at least it will be Brits running the show and it would be good for British business. I did wonder why I kept seeing so called "coastguard" helicopters etc with US coast guard colours, thought it was just the coast guard being pathetic and copying.
Because they can't. The contract would not be covered by the exclusions allowed in European competition law.

Bristow Helicopters is a British company, formed in Aberdeen in 1953. It was bought out by a US business, Offshore Logistics, about 10 years ago, who but it is the biggest single operator of civilian helicopters in the UK. The buy out was a reverse takeover, which means the resulting company, The Bristow Group was floated (on the NYSE). The Brit bit of the company is a wholly owned limited subsidiary registered in the UK and it reports and pays tax in the UK. Complex, but that is the way of the modern corporate world.

The coastguard helicopters you have been seeing have been around for years; India Juliet was a Lee-on-Solent from 1988 to 2007, operated under contract by Bristow. It has always been painted white with a red stripe, because that is the internationally recognised coastguard livery, used by many countries.

For those who have questioned whether Bristow will be as good as the RAF, note that they run SAR services for a number of major countries, including Russia and Australia. They have been running the HM Coastguard service here for a long time and they train the RAF SAR pilots.
 
#12
^ ^ ^ Bristows would also fly in the Falklands when the RAF pilots would not- some of their pilots had been down there for years and would fly in almost any weather. Just curious as to how wartime SAR will work now or are they plannning for Jolly Green Giants full of jolly green giants descending from the sky courtesy of 'the Cousins'??
 
#14
^ ^ ^ Bristows would also fly in the Falklands when the RAF pilots would not- some of their pilots had been down there for years and would fly in almost any weather. Just curious as to how wartime SAR will work now or are they plannning for Jolly Green Giants full of jolly green giants descending from the sky courtesy of 'the Cousins'??
and this was a mate who told you? right? who happened to be in direct contact with the RAF crews, who informed him of this? you utter chopper*.

I did several tours down south back in the day and saw many RAF helos flying in atrocious weather there.


* see what I did there:)
 
#15
^ ^ ^ Bristows would also fly in the Falklands when the RAF pilots would not- some of their pilots had been down there for years and would fly in almost any weather. Just curious as to how wartime SAR will work now or are they plannning for Jolly Green Giants full of jolly green giants descending from the sky courtesy of 'the Cousins'??
and this was a mate who told you? right? who happened to be in direct contact with the RAF crews, who informed him of this? you utter chopper*.

I did several tours down south back in the day and saw many RAF helos flying in atrocious weather there.


* see what I did there:)
Now behave, you two. I've had one or two heli-taxi rides down there and I've always ended up in the Bristow helicopter. And each time the crew has been ex-RAF. Now, I don't know if Bristows pick up more flights because they've got a contract to run them but it's a nigh-on certainty that the Bristow pilots have more experience than their still-serving RAF counterparts.
 
#17
This project also replaces the current RN SAR helos.

The plan is to recruit ex-service crews, with individuals being granted early release if needed.

Not sure how it will affect SARF HQ or the ARCC, as RAF MR will continue.
 
#18
as the major on "our girl" said "We're not American,...............yet!"
 
#19
I'm more concerned about the aircraft itself.

Last year the south Wales mountain rescue teams had a day poking around an Augusta out of Portland. Yep, It's nice shiny kit but;
- limited carrying capacity for ferrying personnel due to the amount of kit it already carries. The Sea King can ferry search parties improving our response times when tasking
- reduced headroom, making it very difficult to get the Bell stretcher in through the side door on the winch
- IIRC it has a lower fuel load than the Sea King, reducing time on scene
- there is a large sensor dome under the nose which is 10" from the ground when parked on tarmac. Many of the Welsh mountains are boggy and Sea Kings have been known to sink down to their bellies, which an Augusta won't be able to do without damaging the pod. This will limit their choice of LZ and operational effectiveness.
- civi pilots have to stick to CAA rules and have very little leeway, unlike military pilots who have been known to fly at 50' in fog following roads up the valleys

This is what I can remember off the top of my head. I don't care if it costs more or if it is a UK company. All I want is to have a service we can rely on when I'm stuck on the side of a mountain at 2am in the mist with a climber who is bleeding out in to a broken femur. If they die on me because of a limitation in this contract or the aircraft then there will be a lot of unhappy people and it'll make it in to the press.
 

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