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UK 2nd Generation Search and Rescue Aviation programme (UKSAR2G)

UK 2nd Generation Search and Rescue Aviation programme (UKSAR2G)
©HM Coastguard

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), through HM Coastguard, provides H24 maritime and coastal search and rescue (SAR) emergency response service throughout the UK.

HM Coastguard provides support to all blue light emergency services, as well as other government departments and agencies, through the deployment of its search and rescue helicopters and planes.

What is UKSAR2G (UK Search And Rescue 2nd Generation)?

Although the UK SAR were born 200 years ago, today’s Her Majesty’s Coastguard is always looking to the future, and we’re constantly striving to find new and innovative equipment and ways of working to help save lives. The UK Second-Generation Aviation Search and Rescue programme – known as UKSAR2G – is part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s commitment towards continuing and bettering its existing well-respected search and rescue offering in the skies.

UKSAR2G will replace some of the existing aviation services currently under contract to the MCA by the end of 2024 – including search and rescue helicopters operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd and the fixed-wing aircraft operated by 2Excel.

This is an opportunity to build a future coastguard aviation capability that can keep pace with the growing demands on coastguard aviation services.

As part of UKSAR2G innovations, HM Coastguard will continue to use and explore developments in large, high endurance unmanned aircraft, working with the Civil Aviation Authority to develop its underpinning regulatory framework.

What is happening in the programme?

The UKSAR2G programme has been progressing well and stayed on track despite the restrictions imposed because of COVID.

After 12 months of market engagement the Invitation to Tender opened in June 2021, and companies were invited to submit their tenders. Six companies then made the shortlist. The shortlisted bidders had until September 2021 to provide their responses, and the MCA’s evaluation process is now underway, which will ensure a robust solution that meets the needs of the MCA and provides value for money to the taxpayer.

What’s next for the programme?

2022 will be an exciting time for the programme as we continue the procurement process, with the contract being awarded towards the end of the year.

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