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UK SAR 2013 privatisation: the new thread

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UK SAR 2013 privatisation: the new thread

Old 30th Mar 2013, 08:17
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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Today's Daily Telegraph:

The Ministry of Defence will retire its 40-strong fleet of Sea King helicopters from 2016, with the search and rescue aircraft being replaced with newer models provided by Texas-based firm Bristow in a £1.6 billion contract with the Department for Transport announced on Tuesday.
However, The Telegraph understands that only 22 new helicopters have been commissioned under the new contract – a shortfall of 45 per cent.
Ten of the new helicopters are believed to be AgustaWestland AW189s models and another 10 are thought to be Sikorsky S-92s, both four-bladed twin-engined crafts.
The new craft are expected to be 20 per cent faster than the existing Sea Kings and will be introduced from 2015 in a 10-year deal ending 70 years of search and rescue being run by the RAF and Royal Navy.
Richard Drax, Conservative MP for South Dorset, who has campaigned to prevent a search and rescue base in Portland from closing, condemned the cuts saying it would have a severe impact on safety.“However fast it is, one helicopter can only be in one place at one time," he said.
“I don’t care how fast they are, if they are tasked elsewhere, and you have less helicopters, what helicopter is going to come and do the job? So by cutting the number of helicopters, that’s a risk.
“The less helicopters and bases you have, the more likely a rescue helicopter will be on another task and will not be able to get where it’s needed, were there more helicopters and more bases.”
He added: “The integrity of search and rescue, by removing Portland, will be harmed, and my fear is – and I don’t want to be alarmist – that lives will be lost.
“Helicopters are notorious for breaking down, because there are so many working parts.”
The Ministry of Defence said front line services would not be impacted by the cut as only 16 of the existing Sea King fleet are deployed for search and rescue missions, with the rest undergoing maintenance or used for training.
Four of the 16 Sea Kings always in deployment are operated by the Royal Navy, while the RAF operates 12, with two helicopters on each base.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) operates another seven helicopters, bringing the number of front line search and rescue aircraft to 23. Those seven, however, are in addition to the 40 aircraft run by the Ministry of Defence.
It was unclear whether those craft will be retired.
A MoD spokesperson said: “It is wrong to suggest the MoD operates 40 Search and Rescue helicopters at any one time. There are 16 operational Royal Navy and RAF Sea Kings - 2 at each of the 8 bases - which deliver the UK’s search and rescue service. The rest of the fleet are either in deep maintenance, used as part of training programmes or based overseas. These aircraft are not available for operations.
“From 2015, search and rescue services will be provided by 22 Bristow helicopters, under a contract awarded by the Department for Transport.”
A spokesperson for Bristow Helicopters admitted there would be no additional aircraft to replace any that are taken out of service but said the helicopters will all be kept fully-maintained and ready to fly, with spare parts always available if an aircraft needs to be serviced.
The company added that it expects 20 of the new helicopters to be used for frontline rescue operations, with two used for training or maintenance at any one time.
The Department for Transport insisted the new service would be better than the current one.
It said: "There will be an overall improvement in flying times to incidents of around 20 per cent (from 23 to 19 minutes).
“Presently, approximately 70 per cent of high and very high-risk areas within the UK search and rescue region are reachable by helicopter within 30 minutes. Under the new contract, approximately 85 per cent of the same area would be reached within this time frame."
Why does some of the flight time stuff remind me of discussions here prior to the NPAS decision?
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 08:44
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Nearly 600 comments in the Telegraph and not many of them positive. Who said the public didn't care about who was doing the rescuing?

If the Bristows financial officer says that capital expenditure will only be about $1 billion and they're going to be buying 22 helicopters at about an average of $20-30 million each (is that about right?), that doesn't leave much for other infrastructure expenditure etc at all the new locations. I'm assuming by capital expenditure he means INITIAL capital expenditure. Doesn't he? $3-400 million left over from the planned budget stretched over 10 years wouldn't go very far if he was quoting total planned capital expenditure.

Last edited by onesquaremetre; 30th Mar 2013 at 08:46.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 09:01
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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Well I certainly like the cost savings coming in for the Aw189 with those four main blades.......

Fluffy
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 09:19
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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600 comments out of how many million? The scaremongering hasn't helped. I landed at a hospital HLS yesterday to be accosted by a family who told me that "it is being taken over by an American company who don't know what they are doing"!!!!!!
If taxes and council tax bills went up to pay for a military option, there would be uproar.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 09:43
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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600 comments in a right of centre newspaper whose readership are generally well-educated and recognise the benefits that can be found in private sector efficiencies. Yet in this instance, a life-saving service that has set the standard for decades is being privatised for no other reason than to offload the public purse. I don't think they're that pleased - they know what private sector 'efficiencies' really means.

Last edited by onesquaremetre; 30th Mar 2013 at 09:45.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 10:52
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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They can bleat as much as they like; it's all signed and sealed. The overwhelming majority of the 600 almost certainly have no idea of the intricacies of Search and Rescue.

The media will always look for the opinion of the people who are going to slag off something new.

It sells newspapers.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 11:41
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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The problem is that the UK is broke and can't afford the capital to replace the old up for retirement Sea Kings with S-92s

There are two options, lease or finance the replacement aircraft or privatise the whole thing and pay monthly for a service. It looks like privatising the SAR service also helps to downsize the military, which is also happening as a result of budget cuts.

The UK public need to realise that the old days of Britannia and her Empire are over.

How many people in the UK would willingly pay extra taxes for SAR which 99.9% of them will never be in a position to need or use?
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 12:07
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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as i said int'other thread

ex SAR pilot (21 Years) I am just surprised that it took so long to come to this. Over that time the RAF shrank almost year on year and the SAR force became just another career step for many people and huge amounts of cash were wasted in building HQ’s and empires with consequent jobs for senior officers
@ Morelookout is absolutley right, as I pointed out more fully in my above rant in the MilAir forum

Last edited by Al-bert; 30th Mar 2013 at 12:26.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 12:54
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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The UK public need to realise that the old days of Britannia and her Empire are over.

In which case we shouldn't really have taken on a million square miles, much of which should be covered by Greenland/Denmark, Iceland, Ireland and France.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 13:26
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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Yet in this instance, a life-saving service that has set the standard for decades is being privatised.....


Errrrrr.....a Standard maybe....but not necessarily THE Standard.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 15:57
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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ex SAR pilot (21 Years) I am just surprised that it took so long to come to this. Over that time the RAF shrank almost year on year and the SAR force became just another career step for many people and huge amounts of cash were wasted in building HQ’s and empires with consequent jobs for senior officers
So true. Used to have Flt Lt flight bosses and the Squadron run by a Sqn Ldr. By the time I left we had Sqn Ldrs everywhere, Wg Co's at sqn HQs, more at SARF HQ and a Group Captain along with more at Group. The job hadn't changed and neither had the aircraft - go figure as they say.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 17:57
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Cyclic - couldn't agree more! In fact, that's what I said int'other thread
We had the best of it I believe
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 18:26
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Sounds like the modern way with most things - a vast explosion of middle managers who spend their time justifying themselves to each other. In the end it takes so long for something really important to trickle through that "opportunities and challenges" are missed.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 20:38
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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Recent availability figures released by Sikorsky suggest a very high percentage for the S-92 so not unreasonable to assume they won't have25percent of the fleet in deep maintenance most of the time? But I have a question. Who/what wil cover the Falklands post 2017?
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 21:19
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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Rigga
Not sure Mrs Grissom would've agreed with you.
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 21:20
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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A [sic] MoD spokesperson said: “It is wrong to suggest the MoD operates 40 Search and Rescue helicopters at any one time. There are 16 operational Royal Navy and RAF Sea Kings - 2 at each of the 8 bases - which deliver the UK’s search and rescue service. The rest of the fleet are either in deep maintenance, used as part of training programmes or based overseas. These aircraft are not available for operations.
It shouldn't still depress me that even the MoD can't get the facts right, but it does...

a Standard maybe....but not necessarily THE Standard
Do elaborate?

Who/what wil [sic] cover the Falklands post 2017?
Never mind 2017, all the RAF Sea Kings will be gone by the end of 2015 (under current plans). Doesn't leave a huge amount of time, but no doubt something will turn up...
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 21:44
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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The trouble with old colonials.......

....... is they are

OLD

and

COLONIAL

Please humour him and agree that Brits can no longer make claim to be the best at everything. Sometimes the colonials are good at something...... like...

Cricket (Aussies - oh no, not these days)
WORLD series baseball (Yanks - but don't tell them that it was an Englishman that first drafted the rules of baseball)

But most of all don't say that we do SAR better than anyone else. It's not diplomatic and in all probability it's not true. If you do then SAS will get his big stick out and.... well woe betide you.

G. (wot no smiley with tongue-in-cheek)
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Old 30th Mar 2013, 22:53
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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However, The Telegraph understands that only 22 new helicopters have been commissioned under the new contract – a shortfall of 45 per cent.
It will be more effective, and more efficient. Well, that's what NPAS are saying about their decision to cut about 30% of Air Support aircraft.
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Old 31st Mar 2013, 08:15
  #119 (permalink)  
 
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You know what I think of NPAS!! However they are using less of the same aircraft. This is a capability improvement with the S92.
Let us not kid ourselves, if the government are going for it, it will not be as good a service. My argument is that it will not be an awful service. It will "do a trip". Whilst the purists cannot accept this, the realists will understand that in the current financial climate, the public DON'T GIVE A TOSS about the SAR service. They are worried about paying for gas and electric, mortgages and holidays. They don't care if an aircraft takes 12 or 18 minutes to get to scene. When you are involved in a public service job, you always overestimate just how important you are. How many times have I heard military, police, NHS and Firemen say that the public "would never accept us being cut that far". Absolute tosh! They don't care, neither do the politicians, worse is still to come in the next 12 months. Live with it!!
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Old 31st Mar 2013, 08:19
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps SaS should ask some of his fellow countrymen who have been the US CG exchange pilots over the years - all good men but all had to raise their game significantly to meet the 'standard' and all returned to the US as significantly better SAR pilots (some with medals from their UK exploits to prove they exceeded the standard)

The first one I flew with at SARTU was in the LHS of a Wessex for a winch weight check (up to 300' in an OGE hover and basic stuff as far as we were concerned) - at the end he said 'Wow that was awesome' - I commented that perhaps he didn't spend much time in the high hover in the USCG and he replied that he didn't spend much time in the low hover either

The Torygraph journos and readers should have expressed their concerns 10 years ago when the civilianisation was first mooted - but no-one gave a toss then because it wasn't a neat 'US firm makes millions from SAR' headline.

The only way is forward now to make it as good as it can possibly be for the sake of the 0.1 % of those taxpayers who really will need the best service in the world.
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