Bristow wins second generation UK SAR – UKSAR2G – contract


The UK Department for Transport, has today signed a £1.6 billion ($1.9bn) contract with Bristow Helicopters for the UK’s Second-Generation Search and Rescue Aviation (UKSAR2G).

It follows an 18-month procurement process.

Bristow has provided the UK search and rescue helicopter service since 2013, with the aerial reconnaissance aircraft provided by 2Excel Aviation since 2019. These aircraft fly not only for HM Coastguard but also on behalf of other Government Departments.

The new contract will see the UK search and rescue region benefit from both innovation and advances in technology to save more lives, even more quickly. It will combine the existing two separate aviation contracts for both fixed wing aircraft and rotary aircraft. It will also include the use of uncrewed aircraft (drones). This will provide better value for money for the taxpayer and allow for more innovation throughout the life of the contract.

As part of the new contract, Bristow Helicopters Ltd will continue to operate from their current ten helicopter bases and launch two new seasonal bases in Fort William and Carlisle, to serve areas around two of the busiest locations for summer tourism.

All helicopter bases will continue to be operational 24 hours a day. The Fort William and Carlisle will operate 12 hours a day from April to September. The transition out from the current contracts will start 30 September 2024 and run through to 31 December 2026, to ensure a continuation of search and rescue aviation services across the whole of the UK. There will be three fixed-wing bases at Doncaster, Prestwick and Newquay.