A project to find the next generation of Search and Rescue Helicopters, planes and drones.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has announced a shortlist of companies that will be invited to tender for the provision of the next decade of coastguard aviation.
It's part of the government's UKSAR2G programme which will procure services that will provide the next generation of coastguard search and rescue helicopters, planes and remotely piloted drones. It's hoped that new technology will enable the coastguard to find people who need help even more quickly.
Since 2013, the UK search and rescue helicopter service has been delivered by Bristow Helicopters Ltd, with planes being provided by 2Excel. All existing aviation services currently under contract to the MCA will be replaced once the new contract commences.
Data has been used extensively to enable aviation operators and manufacturers to put forward innovative solutions that meet the complex demands of all the emergency services and the other government departments that benefit from coastguard aviation long into the future. The programme will build upon the success of the current contracts which provide search and rescue helicopters and reconnaissance planes.
Like the arrangements it replaces, UKSAR2G will be a pan-government aviation service that supports not just Her Majesty’s Coastguard, but also UK policing in the search for lost and missing people as well as the health services in the transfer of critically ill people between NHS hospitals. This will also continue to support the work of our colleagues in other law enforcement bodies in an even more collaborative fashion than today.
Damien Oliver, Senior Responsible Owner for UKSAR2G said:
"Our extensive data has been used to develop the tools that will enable bidders for UKSAR2G to include cutting-edge, greener technology that will continue to meet the complex demands of Her Majesty’s Coastguard long into the future.
This is a truly pan-Government capability that recognises that more than 50% of the demand for Coastguard aviation today arises from other public bodies. UKSAR2G will continue to support UK policing, the health services and other law enforcement bodies in the work they do. The scale of this collaboration has never been seen before on a Government Procurement.
This is a really exciting programme that will continue to protect the public using state-of the-art aviation technology."
The UKSAR2G invitation to tender has been issued to shortlisted bidders to provide their responses by the end of August 2021. Following negotiation, the MCA expects to award the contract in mid-2022. This will allow time for the successful bidder or bidders to establish operations before commencing service from 2024 for at least 10 years.
The transition out from the current contracts will start 30 September 2024 and runs through to 31 December 2026, to guarantee a smooth transition of aviation services.