Iain dear old chap...i hope you dont count your rounds in the way you count your previous jobs! I dont think my sight and mathematics are failing me...but surely there are only 4.....so maybe it was only 3 out of 4 you meant...I am begining to think UK SAR procurement is becoming like the proposed badger cull.....we all know we need it....but hey lets hope its not 12 years before we see some action.....oops....its already 10!
Have any criminal charges or sanctions been applied to the companies and individuals involved in this abhorrent fiasco that occurred during the SAR-H bid process? It appears that an obscene amount of both tax-payers, and competing bidders, money was lost in an apparent bid fixing conspiracy of a scale and standard more typically found in corrupt third world dictatorships, rather than the UK.
It would certainly make me feel much better to know that the guilty are being investigated and that appropriate action is being taken to remedy the original faults and ensure a fair bid for the next phase.
Is there an investigation actually occurring at this time?
Looking forward rather than backwards, what would be the chances of doing something 'joint' with the Irish here? The SAR helicopters of both countries are always in and out of each others Search and Rescue Regions anyway.
Not sure that would work out with the irish having just let a 10 year contract. I think the politics of having two government departments involved are massive, let alone having two countries involved. But then again, if we are going to put British fast jet pilots onto French aircraft carriers I guess anything is possible!!!
If the UK Government wants to pick up the tab on the Irish contract for a year or two, I'm sure the so-called Irish Government would be happy to have the new Sikorskys based in the UK for a while. It would save us a lot of money, and given the way they are shutting down hospitals here at the moment, a lack of SAR cover in Ireland wouldn't be too much of a concern to them. If only we hadn't sold the Alouette IIIs so quickly.
Search and Rescue Interim Contract The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Philip Hammond): On 8 February I informed the House that, owing to irregularities in the bidding process, the Government had concluded that it was not appropriate to proceed with the previously planned joint MOD/DFT PFI procurement for future search and rescue capability.
The investigation into the circumstances that led to the cancellation of that procurement is ongoing. Work is also under way to identify the optimum procurement options for the long-term provision of search and rescue helicopter capability for the UK. However, as the existing Maritime and Coastguard Agency search and rescue helicopter contract that provides services at Portland, Lee on Solent, Shetland and the Isle of Lewis is set to expire, I wish to inform the House of my plans to ensure that search and rescue helicopter services from these locations continue uninterrupted until new long-term arrangements are in place.
To ensure the continuity of services from these locations, the Department for Transport will shortly run a competition to procure an interim service for a period of up to five years. This contract will be similar to the arrangements that are currently in place for these bases and are working well. The contract will be open to all interested bidders able to offer a service that fully meets our requirements and ensures the safety of the public and seafarers.
These arrangements will ensure that search and rescue helicopter services are maintained while the range of options in relation to the long-term future provision of such services are being fully considered. The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy will continue to provide coverage from their search and rescue bases as at present, while I consider the options for the long-term provision of search and rescue helicopter capability.
I will inform the House later in the year of the Government’s intentions for the longer term. The procurement strategy we adopt for the longer term will seek to ensure that the Ministry of Defence is able to complete its previously announced intention to withdraw its Sea Kings from service in 2016.
The JetStream contract in 2003 was seriously compacted within 12 months - so it can be done [I agree its more of an apples and pears comparison - but the capability is there if needed].
What it requires is a winning bidder to come up with a shed load of 'new' cabs over say a 2 year period and a training school to boot. The training is the difficult bit (finding bums on seats in sufficient quantities that are both qualified and available). My hunch is that the DfT (if they still had possession of the poisoned chalice) will remove the mil in its entirety and hope (ha) that sufficient numbers PVR to join the new service.
Statement due 2012 (early), infrastructure in place by mid to late 2013 - training complete by early to mid 2016: Roberts your mothers brother
TC -as far as i can see from your comments, there is apparently little sense in running 2 competitions in such a short timescale...by definition it is likely that tax payers money will end up being spent inefficiently at a time we can least afford it. It will be used to pay for a 5 year Interm 2 contract which in the end may have no direct relationship as far as resources and aircraft are concerned with what comes after for the longer term. Cant help feel a lot of additional time and cash is about to be wasted due to some distinct risk averse decision making somewhere! goodness knows the SAR-H solution and assessment must still give them the most pertinent clues to be able to get on with it quicker!
Brussels launches plan to scupper UK Coastguard By GLEN OWEN 17th July 2011
Britain's coastguards would be replaced by a new pan- European fleet under 'harmonisation' plans which would see their life-saving work being taken over by an EU coastguard corps emblazoned with the Brussels logo. The news comes just days after Transport Secretary Philip Hammond performed a partial U-turn on cutting the number of currently operating Coastguard centres from 19 to eight, with just three remaining open 24 hours a day. After an outcry over the safety risks, he told the Commons last week that 11 centres will remain, all of which will be operational 24 hours a day.
Under the Brussels plan, which will be voted on by the European Parliament in October, an EU Coastguard will be created to 'effectively combat current or future dangers at sea such as terrorism, piracy and trafficking'. If approved, it would then be put before EU member countries for ratification. Trevor Coleman, MEP for the South West of England, who uncovered the proposals, said: 'A European Coastguard service would contribute, we were told, towards the single European state "we dream of" and that "member states need to contribute to these structures and relinquish some of their power."
'No one spoke of local knowledge or the use of volunteer Coastwatch personnel.'
Partial U-turn: An outcry forced Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, to reverse Coastguard station cuts UKIP leader and South East England MEP Nigel Farage said: 'We've already had our fishing rights taken away from us. Wanting us to relinquish control of our own marine borders simply must be taken off the agenda at the earliest possible opportunity.
'We've already seen the EU embassies take hold, and seen the EU try to take over defence. And immigration has been a disaster for years because of European rules'. A spokesman for the European Parliament said: 'Once it is approved by the Parliament as a whole, it will be forwarded to the Commission, Council and Member States. The Commission then may come up with legislative proposals or take measures based on the content of the report.' Tory Shipping Minister Mike Penning said the proposals would be resisted by the UK Government. He added: 'A European Coastguard is not a concept that the UK would support. Her Majesty's Coastguard has a long and proud history and has a worldwide reputation for excellence.
Search and Rescue should not recognise International Boundaries.
I know the MCA does many things other than SAR but I personally have no issue with a European Coastguard. The individual nations all work from the same manuals (IAMSAR) and they spend considerable time and money every year on joint exercises and workshops to try and harmonise their plans and procedures.
My Licence says JAA and my Flight Plans go to Eurocontrol. Now if we could just get the CAA abolished with the introduction of EASA.......
The comments from hansard should be read for what they do not say. The quote states that the procurement strategy will allow the MOD to still meet it's aspiration to withdraw it's Seakings in 2016. It does not say that they will not then be replaced with a new buy,and for SAR to stay Mil. Which a little birdie (an MP) tells me is currently being looked at. Read the Hansard statement again, it is very cleverly worded...does not say SAR will be civvy, and does not say Seaking won't be replaced in the Mil SAR role.
If the contract identified that the Seakings would be replaced with the S92, and CHC were already in the process of procuring the ac, can't the mil take up where CHC failed?
The precedent has already been made with the COMR ac used by 84 Sqn, and I am told that it works very well. Therefore, rather than going back through the bidding process again, just replicate that contract and retain mil crews and save a stack of money, plus various other PR benefits of keeping the capability military.
But more importantly, we can paint the ac yellow!!!!