Airbus is teaming with Draken Europe to address the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency's (MCA) requirement for the Second Generation Search and Rescue (UKSAR2G) service.
The MCA, through HM Coastguard, provides a national 24-hour maritime and coastal SAR emergency response service throughout the UK, through the deployment of its search and rescue helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Since 2013, the UKSAR helicopter service has been delivered by Bristow helicopters Ltd. from 10 strategically located bases around the UK, rescuing over 4,500 people since the service started in 2015. This contract is due to finish in 2024.
UKSAR2G is the second-generation programme that will take account of how the current UKSAR helicopter service has evolved and will seek to understand other emergency services’ requirements and needs to shape a highly collaborative and innovative solution. UKSAR2G will work from first principles to develop a more tailored and modern means of delivering vital search and rescue capabilities in a more cost-efficient and innovative way.
Airbus and Draken, which was previously known as Cobham Aviation Services until its acquisition by Draken International in September 2020, present a UK-based partnership demonstrating an extensive track record in delivering critical search and rescue services around the world, an ethos of technological advancement and innovation combined with sound financial resilience.
The combination of the proven-in-service SAR product and support capabilities of Airbus, a global leader in aerospace, with the extensive operational experience of Draken, a supplier of mission critical aviation services to the UK Government and global customers, will allow the companies to offer a comprehensive next generation enhancement to the MCA's current SAR service while ensuring the robust continuity of its life-saving operations.
Together, Airbus and Draken will deliver a total system solution which will seamlessly deploy advanced helicopter, fixed wing and unmanned aircraft supported by a diverse array of integrated mission-critical technologies enabling the delivery of a timely SAR response whenever and wherever it is needed.
The companies employ more than 12,000 highly skilled aerospace professionals in the UK and sustain well over 110,000 jobs at some 2,500 supplier companies across the country.
Airbus Helicopters UK MD Colin James says: “We have enormous respect for the long history, traditions and the dedicated workforce of the MCA's current SAR operations. With Draken we are fully focused on this opportunity to deliver the next generation SAR service deploying our innovative technologies and practices, integrated with our proven high performance and advanced aircraft.”
Draken Europe CEO Paul Armstrong adds: “The complementary skills of our well-matched companies with our combined vast expertise, innovation and decades of experience in building, operating and supporting SAR helicopters and special mission fixed wing aircraft will allow us to offer a compelling SAR2G proposal to the MCA. With Airbus we will deliver a service that offers resilience and value for money but most importantly a service that will always respond to distress whenever needed.”