AgustaWestland, March 26, 2013 - AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that its AW189 Search & Rescue (SAR) helicopter will play a pivotal role in the provision of SAR services in the UK.
Bristow Helicopters Ltd., which has been awarded the contract by the UK Department for Transport to provide SAR services to the UK for 10 years, has selected the AW189 SAR variant as one of the central platforms for its SAR programme. In addition to the aircraft, AgustaWestland will provide related training, maintenance and support services.
A total of 11 AW189s will be operated by Bristow in the UK, with a phased-in starting period between 2015 and 2017. The programme for AgustaWestland is valued at over 275 million euro.
The AW189, the latest helicopter produced and equipped by AgustaWestland to undertake SAR missions, builds on the Company’s heritage and expertise in search and rescue both in the UK and abroad.
The iconic Sea King, which has been operational for over 30 years, is currently providing the bulk of Search and Rescue missions in the UK alongside the AW139 which has undertaken the same role, primarily on Britain’s south coast, for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
Graham Cole, Chairman at AgustaWestland Ltd., said: ``We are delighted to be working with Bristow Helicopters Ltd. to ensure the continuity and success of rescue services in the UK. AgustaWestland has been at the heart of UK search and rescue since 1955 and is proud to be continuing its association with this vital service. Bristow’s longstanding experience in life saving operations, together with our mission tailored AW189 helicopter, ensures the UK will continue to have a world-class search and rescue service.”
Since its launch in June 2011, the AW189 has become the outright market leader in the 8 tonne class with over 70 orders and options placed by many of the world's leading operators.
The AW189 SAR helicopter is part of AgustaWestland’s family of new generation helicopters that also includes the AW169 and AW139, the [best-selling] helicopter in its class with over 700 aircraft ordered in 60 countries. These helicopters all possess the same high-performance flight characteristics and safety features whilst sharing the same common cockpit concept and design philosophy. This approach facilitates synergies for operators of these models in areas such as training, maintenance and support.
Bristow is a long-standing customer of AgustaWestland with both the AW189 and AW139 already in its fleet or on order. It was one of the first operators to order the all new AW189 helicopter. The AW189 SAR helicopter, which will be built at AgustaWestland’s UK facility in Yeovil, Somerset, will target the growing commercial/para-public search and rescue opportunities worldwide.