With its then large rural communities, a particularly bad winter in 1962/63 prompted The Dáil to approve an order for the SAR-equipped Alouette III. It was to be the mainstay of Irish Air Corps rotary wing operations from Nov 1963, when the first two of three initially ordered, were based at Baldonnel; the third was delivered in Apr 1964.
A further 5 airframes were ordered with deliveries over 2 years, commencing 1972. By Aug 1987, the SAR role began to migrate to newer IAC models
while the government looked to civilianise more of the SAR services and the Alouette IIIs took on a more Utility role.
The last six airframes were formally retired on 21 Sep 2007, after more than 40 years distinguished service.