The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has released the names of the companies shortlisted to bid for the 'UK SAR Helicopter Services' contracts that were announced in November 2011, under which the UK’s current mix of military and contracted civilian search and rescue (SAR) helicopters will be replaced by either one or two civilian providers.
The contracts will see the current Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Sea King operations being replaced by civilian providers in a staggered take-over, with services commencing at the various bases between April 2015 and January 2016. The project also affects the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA’s) contracted helicopter services, set to be replaced in 2017; the new providers will be taking over from operators CHC and Bristow, who have been awarded interim GAP SAR contracts to run services for the MCA from 2015 until the handover.
Companies are able to either bid for Lot 1, operating at or near Sumburgh, Stornoway, Leconfield and Valley; Lot 2, at or near Lee-on-the-Solent, Chivenor, Prestwick, Lossiemouth and Wattisham; or both – Lot 3. Bidders for Lot 1 were named as Bond Offshore Helicopters, Bristow Helicopters, CHC Scotia, Elbit Systems, Evergreen International Aviation, Eurocopter UK, and the Osprey Consortium (consisting of Babcock Aerospace, ERA Helicopters and British International Helicopters). The same bidders were named for Lot 2, as were FB Heliservices and Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen. Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems was listed as a bidder for Lot 3, as were the Lot 1 bidders.
The DfT said the successful bidder or bidders will be announced in early 2013, and the contract formally awarded in February 2013. The total value of the combined options, Lot 3, is estimated by the DfT at £2 to £3 billion.
Image: SAC Dave Rose / RAF / Crown Copyright