The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to AAR to provide search and rescue (SAR) and support helicopter services in the Falkland Islands.
Under the £180m contract, AAR’s Airlift division will provide a combined SAR and support helicopter service to the British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI) operations.
Working with British International Helicopters (BIH) and Air Rescue Systems (ARS), AAR will deploy an undisclosed number of AgustaWestland AW-189 SAR helicopters and Sikorsky S-61 support helicopters, as well as provide flight operations, maintenance, logistics and facilities support at the Mount Pleasant complex in the Falkland Islands and surrounding maritime region.
Operations include all-weather SAR, helicopter emergency medical services, rescue hoist operations, passenger and cargo transfers, as well as night-vision imaging systems.
AAR Airlift Group president and CEO Randy Martinez said: "This award presents a tremendous opportunity for AAR Airlift’s business as part of our strategy to diversify our capabilities and customer base."
Readiness states vary from 15 minutes to one hour response and requires a 24/7 alert posture.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) provides SAR services for the Falklands and surrounding waters using Westland WS-61Sea King helicopters, which are scheduled to be progressively retired from April, as reported by Flightglobal.
UK MOD Defence Equipment and Support department Helicopters 2 head Ian Craddock said: "We will work closely with AAR through the period of transition, with the RAF continuing to provide search and rescue cover until the new service starts.
"I am also pleased that AAR will be sub-contracting British International Helicopters, who is already successfully providing support helicopter services in the Falkland Islands, to support delivery of the combined service."
Work under the contract will start in April 2016 and is scheduled to continue for ten years.
Image: The UK Royal Air Force currently provides SAR service for the Falklands and surrounding waters using Westland WS-61Sea King helicopters. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright 2012.