UK To Standardize on S-92 for Search and Rescue
The Sikorsky S-92A will take over search-and-rescue helicopter (SAR-H) duties in the UK, following selection of the Soteria Consortium by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). In the UK’s latest private finance initiative about 24 helicopters and their crews will be provided for 25 years, from 2012, by Soteria, which comprises CHC Helicopters, Thales and the Royal Bank of Scotland. At present, the MoD provides most of the UK’s SAR-H coverage using AgustaWestland Sea Kings operated by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. Some coverage in Scotland is already provided by S-92s under contract to the MCA. “This capability will be replaced over the next decade through a single contract placed with Soteria that will retain a proportion of military aircrew working alongside civilian aircrew trained to the same high standards. The service will continue to be managed jointly by the MoD and the MCA,” the government said. The Soteria bid was preferred to one submitted by Lockheed Martin UK, the VT Group and British International Helicopters. The losing consortium was named AirKnight, and proposed to use Eurocopter EC225 Super Pumas.