From September 2016, HM Coastguard is trialling a Jetstream 41 turboprop aircraft as part of a development to support its search and rescue (SAR) helicopters.
The new plane, which is painted in red and white HM Coastguard colours, will patrol the southern and eastern seaboard of the UK.
The Coastguard said the aim of trial is to assess whether a fixed-wing aircraft will provide valuable additional support for its SAR helicopters. The new capability will help save lives at sea by identifying people, boats or ships in distress, said the organisation.
The Coastguard Jetstream is provided by Eastern Airways on behalf of Bristow Helicopters and has a dedicated crew. The aircraft will be controlled through the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC), just like HM Coastguard’s SAR helicopters. It will be tasked where there is a risk to life, and in support of the helicopters.
According to the Coastguard, if the trial is successful options for permanent provision will be explored, possibly in combination with similar requirements elsewhere in Government.