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2Excel Broadsword

Bristow Group

BAN's World Gazetteer

The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

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Read our latest feature:   Show issue: MEBAA
UK coastguard awards Bristow second-gen SAR contract
A new 10-year contract combines existing rotary and fixed wing services into fully integrated solution led by Bristow. The consortium will begin the two-year transition at the end of September 2024.
Bristow, 2Excel and Nova Systems will operate 18 helicopters, six King Airs and one mobile deployable Schiebel Camcopter S-100 UAS.
Read this story in our August 2022 printed issue.

Bristow Helicopters has been awarded a £1.6 billion, 10-year contract for the Second-Generation Search and Rescue Aviation (UKSAR2G) programme by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), an executive agency of the UK Department for Transport.

Bristow will work in partnership with fixed wing specialist 2Excel Aviation and consortium innovation partner Nova Systems to deliver the contract for the MCA on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard.

The contract combines the existing two separate aviation contracts for fixed wing aircraft and rotary aircraft and will include the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Since 2013 and 2019 respectively, Bristow and 2Excel have operated SAR services for the UK in the original SAR and aerial surveillance contracts. During that time, the companies have rescued more than 4,500 people over the past seven years.

“We are very pleased with the MCA’s trust in Bristow to continue to provide safe and reliable search and rescue services with our crews to help save lives throughout the United Kingdom,” says president and CEO Chris Bradshaw. “Through this new, innovative contract, Bristow and our partners will increase efficiencies and innovations as well as establish additional seasonal bases to further expand our service.”

As part of the new contract, Bristow will continue to operate from its current 10 bases and launch two new seasonal bases in Fort William and Carlisle, to serve areas around two of the busiest locations for summer tourism. The Fort William and Carlisle bases will operate 12 hours a day from April to September. All other helicopter bases will continue to be operational 24 hours a day.

The partners will operate 18 helicopters, including nine existing Leonardo AW189s and three existing Sikorsky S-92s augmented by the introduction of six new Leonardo AW139 helicopters. At Doncaster, Prestwick and Newquay they will operate six King Airs including the B350, B350ER and the B200, and there will be one mobile deployable Schiebel Camcopter S-100 UAS.

“Since inception 2Excel has built a reputation for being highly skilled at creating innovative solutions and quickly turning complex aviation concepts into leading edge capabilities. The UKSAR2G contract with the MCA exemplifies this fact,” says co-founder and director Andy Offer. “This contract builds on the existing capabilities we have delivered to the MCA over the past few years with our fixed wing aircraft packed with integrated sensors; delivering services to a myriad of government agencies including border security, fisheries patrol, as well as life-saving search and rescue for HM Coastguard, working collaboratively with our partner Bristow.”

Through the new contract, Bristow and partners 2Excel and Nova Systems will work to deliver greater innovation in the provision of SAR services across the UK region.

“Nova Systems is thrilled to be teamed with Bristow and 2Excel for UKSAR2G in the role of programme innovation partner. With our experience working at the leading edge of aerospace technology and mission system development, and with our unique mix of technical and operational domain expertise, we look forward to enhancing the UK's SAR capability and delivering a world-class innovation programme to the Bristow team and the MCA,” adds managing director Gareth Dyer.

Bristow will provide a new SAR helicopter simulation training facility at Solent airport next to the Coastguard training facility, which will house a synthetic rescue hoist and helicopter suspended over a large training pool. Another innovation includes the use of sustainable aviation fuels, reducing the carbon footprint in the delivery of these services.

The companies will transition from the current contracts starting from 30 September, 2024 through to 31 December, 2026, to ensure a continuation of critical search and rescue aviation services.

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