British SAR helicopter procurement

Helicopter-lifeboat

The British Government is outsourcing supply of helicopters for Coast Guard, RAF and FAA SAR cover for the British Isles. This will be under a PFI scheme where the helicopters and support will be supplied on a lease contract, with a standard machine supplied for all three operators. This is a major change in SAR planning because the RAF and FAA SAR service has always been provided using standard military helicopters and primarily being provided for military SAR with civil SAR provided when machines are available. The Coast Guard SAR service has used commercial machines. At present it is unknown if the RAF and FAA will also acquire military machines to be used exclusively for downed pilot SAR and extraction services.

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