At a ceremony held in London on 18th July, AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, and Bristow Group signed a contract for 11 AW189 Search & Rescue (SAR) helicopters that will be used to deliver SAR services in and around the UK.
The contract was signed by Mike Imlach, Director of European Operations, Bristow Group and Geoff Hoon, Managing Director International Business, AgustaWestland, in the presence of Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport.
In addition to the aircraft, AgustaWestland will provide related training, maintenance and support services. The 11 AW189s will be built at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility and operated by Bristow in the UK, with a phased introduction to service between 2015 and 2017. The overall programme value to AgustaWestland, which was announced in March 2013, is in excess of €275 million.
Bristow Helicopters Ltd. was awarded a contract by the UK Department for Transport in March 2013 to provide SAR services to the UK for 10 years and selected the AW189 SAR variant as one of the central platforms for the UK SAR programme.
Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said “This deal will not only ensure that the UK is served by a new generation of state-of-the-art search and rescue helicopters but will also provide a welcome boost to Britain’s world-class aerospace industry. This is good news for those who rely on our search and rescue helicopters and good news for British manufacturing.”
Daniele Romiti, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland commented “We are delighted to sign this contract today with Bristow who has a long and proud history of providing life saving SAR services. The selection of the AW189 for this prestigious SAR contract, after extensive evaluations of competing types, confirms that the aircraft is ideally suited to conduct this demanding role and we are confident that this success will lead to further success for the AW189 in the SAR role around the world.”
Mike Imlach, Director of European Operations, Bristow Group, added Bristow Helicopters Limited is excited to be working in partnership with AgustaWestland on the development and supply of the new technology AW189 to the UK Government. The aircraft has great potential and will be a tremendous addition to the Bristow Group Search and Rescue aircraft fleet and the fact that it will be assembled in Yeovil will help the UK economy further.”
The AW189, the latest helicopter produced and equipped by AgustaWestland to undertake SAR missions, builds on the Company’s heritage and expertise in search and rescue both in the UK and abroad. The iconic Westland Sea King, which has been operational for over 30 years, is currently flying the majority of Search and Rescue missions in the UK alongside the AW139 which is undertaking the same role, primarily on Britain’s south coast, for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
Since its launch in June 2011, the AW189 has become the outright market leader in the 8 tonne class with over 80 orders and options placed by many of the world’s leading operators. The AW189 SAR helicopter is part of AgustaWestland’s family of new generation helicopters that also includes the AW169 and AW139, the best-selling helicopter in its class with over 720 aircraft ordered in 60 countries. These helicopters all possess the same high-performance flight characteristics and safety features whilst sharing the same common cockpit concept and design philosophy. This approach facilitates synergies for operators of these models in areas such as training, maintenance and support.
Bristow is a long-standing customer of AgustaWestland with the AW139 already in service and the AW189 on order for offshore oil and gas transport operations. It was one of the first operators to order the all new AW189 helicopter.