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Thales - Soteria announces S92 solution for SAR-H

Thales : 11 June, 2009  (Special Report)
Soteria, the team bidding for the harmonised UK search and rescue helicopter (SAR-H) contract, has announced the Sikorsky S92 as its preferred choice of aircraft for the new service.
The Soteria Consortium – comprising CHC Helicopter Corporation, Thales UK and the Royal Bank of Scotland – says the aircraft is already proven in the SAR environment and represents an effective, reliable, value-for-money proposition.

Soteria is taking part in the competitive process led by the Ministry of Defence and Department of Transport to create a single SAR Helicopter entity to succeed the existing service, provided across a number of organisations.

David Rae, Soteria Bid Director, says: “We are absolutely confident that the S92 is the right aircraft for this new era in UK SAR services. Specifically configured for SAR operations, it has already established an excellent track record and possesses the power, speed and technological capabilities to deliver SAR services in the most testing of conditions.

“As a platform it is safe, robust and dependable. It is versatile and well suited to performing tasks across the full spectrum of SAR activity.

“The Soteria team brings together partners who offer diverse yet complementary skills and experience to deliver an innovative, value-for-money solution, and we believe the S92 is the right choice of Airframe to meet the demands of SAR-H in the long term.

“We have been determined throughout to create an offering that meets the very specific challenges of a service to be provided from multiple bases for the 25-year plus lifespan of the contract, and the S92 is absolutely pivotal to that offering.”

CHC already has significant direct experience of operating SAR S92s in the UK, deploying them from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) bases at Stornoway and Shetland as part of its interim contract with the agency. The S92 has proved extremely successful in the most challenging environment that the UK has to offer and it has been repeatedly tested in response to a diverse range of operational SAR missions – totalling over 300 to date - while maintaining impressive aircraft availability levels in excess of 98%.

The S92 is a technology-led aircraft that represents the long-term future of UK SAR and Soteria is proud to have the aircraft at the heart of its bid.
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