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-   -   UKSAR2G - MCA CivSAR Second Generation (https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/638366-uksar2g-mca-civsar-second-generation.html)

jimf671 16th Mar 2021 15:47

Sitting on the door sill as we hover next to a cliff at 3500' in a howling gale I want to be in a AW189K or a S-92B.

Just saying.

Baldeep Inminj 16th Mar 2021 16:17


Originally Posted by jimf671 (Post 11009972)
Sitting on the door sill as we hover next to a cliff at 3500' in a howling gale I want to be in a AW189K or a S-92B.

Just saying.

But your budget manager would much prefer you to be in a 145...after you have explained why all of those operators in the Alps have got it wrong...at 10,000ft...

Just sayin’ 😉

jimf671 16th Mar 2021 17:42

It's not to say that there is nothing to learn from the Alpine experience but so many things are different. Distances, population densities, weather conditions. The economics are not what they first appear. A friend of mine in Austria turned up at a job where there were 11 helicopters. The same job here would be attended by one or two helicopters. To replicate the alpine situation, we'd have a 145 in Inverness, Fort William, Lossiemouth, Plockton, Wick, ... and so on: definitely no budget for that!

Baldeep Inminj 16th Mar 2021 18:15

All valid points but of course the Alpine service operates in a fundamentally different way - a new UK model would be custom built. At ‘List’ price you can purchase somewhere between 3 and 5 H145 for the price of an S92, and they cost a fraction of the price to operate.

It has a range of just under 400 miles at 140 kts and plenty of power and control authority. I would take it over a ‘92 in the hills any day. Now pair that with H175 for long range work (remember the UK is tiny). Even with having to open a few more locations, the savings over the contract life are enormous. Then add Airbus’s drone/UAV knowledge for Search and maritime patrol etc...🤔

I suspect BHL will have one hell of a fight to keep this contract with the corporate resources of Draken and Airbus ranged against them...

but never say never.

hargreaves99 16th Mar 2021 18:38

This is all a wasted exercise. It's pretty obvious that Bristow are going to retain the UK SAR contract. UK Gov has no currently appetite for change/risk, and Bristow are so broke that they will probably run the contract with tiny margins, just to retain it. All the staff/infrastructure/procedures/bases/know-how etc is already in place.

Milo C 16th Mar 2021 18:55

Airbus tried the same a decade ago in Spain with Maritime SAR. It turned into an absolute failure.
it's still weird, that an OEM, in order to sell helicopters, becomes the operator itself.

Medevac999 16th Mar 2021 19:14


Originally Posted by Baldeep Inminj (Post 11010086)
All valid points but of course the Alpine service operates in a fundamentally different way - a new UK model would be custom built. At ‘List’ price you can purchase somewhere between 3 and 5 H145 for the price of an S92, and they cost a fraction of the price to operate.

It has a range of just under 400 miles at 140 kts and plenty of power and control authority. I would take it over a ‘92 in the hills any day. Now pair that with H175 for long range work (remember the UK is tiny). Even with having to open a few more locations, the savings over the contract life are enormous. Then add Airbus’s drone/UAV knowledge for Search and maritime patrol etc...🤔

I suspect BHL will have one hell of a fight to keep this contract with the corporate resources of Draken and Airbus ranged against them...

but never say never.

sounds like you work for Draken.

Baldeep Inminj 16th Mar 2021 20:11


Originally Posted by Medevac999 (Post 11010118)
sounds like you work for Draken.

Or Airbus...don’t forget them!

Anyone remember DHFS? FBH/Cobham ran it very successfully and everyone thought they were a dead cert. for the MFTS contract.

Until Airbus stole it from under their noses.

Anyone who thinks BHL are going to win because they run it now is deluded. Airbus’ BD team, lawyers and political movers will have done their due diligence in this. They partner with Draken who have just bought Cobham and gained a SAR school...

Coincidence? I doubt it- this plan has been cooking for a while. Airbus believe they can win.

And I do not work for Airbus, Draken or Bristow.

jimf671 16th Mar 2021 21:01

Historically, the UK government has let about 20 contracts for helicopter SAR and 4 of those have been won by companies NOT called Bristow.

Why might that pattern continue?

Bristow know and understand the associated landscape pretty well.

At a time when O&G is in turmoil and trying to work out how to operate without a stupid amount of cash splashing around, having a government cheque coming in every month is really nice. This has worked well for Bristow during a difficult period and they need it to continue.

Era have been doing SAR and the merger has not in any way diluted the Bristow approach to SAR. The reverse perhaps. Bristow internal organisation appears to have been re-arranged for the purpose of taking over the world of SAR.

Baldeep Inminj 16th Mar 2021 21:19


Originally Posted by jimf671 (Post 11010179)
Historically, the UK government has let about 20 contracts for helicopter SAR and 4 of those have been won by companies NOT called Bristow.

Why might that pattern continue?

Bristow know and understand the associated landscape pretty well.

At a time when O&G is in turmoil and trying to work out how to operate without a stupid amount of cash splashing around, having a government cheque coming in every month is really nice. This has worked well for Bristow during a difficult period and they need it to continue.

Era have been doing SAR and the merger has not in any way diluted the Bristow approach to SAR. The reverse perhaps. Bristow internal organisation appears to have been re-arranged for the purpose of taking over the world of SAR.

I agree with everything you say, without reservation. As I said earlier, my understanding is that the current contract is working well and providing an excellent service (with all of the fully trained SAR crews that Bristow inherited from the RAF/RN).

Bristow promised to set up a SAR school to train new crews, but has not done it. Draken already have one. They know the landscape, as you put it.

Airbus will make sure the aircraft costs are rock-bottom. The wider Bristow group are fighting bankruptcy....

I will watch this with interest, but my money is not on Bristow.


jimf671 17th Mar 2021 01:14

There's probably about 190 operational aircrew plus some standards folks. I know 78 of those came across through managed transition and a few other military were already Bristow/CHC or whatever and a few dozen civilian background. Stornoway was supposed to be the S-92 training base with the spare aircraft and Inverness for AW189 with sims at Dyce. The Inverness thing never worked out because of the 189 delay and it looked like Lee-on-Solent took that role. I know they have been recruiting ab-initio rear crew but I don't know where they have been doing the training.

Some management musical chairs and retirements are already starting to eat into the numbers. However, a few SAR-experienced crew have continued to leave the military and find their way into Bristow SAR.

Three years from now,
SCENARIO ONE - LIMITED CHANGE
Bristow or CHC or A N Other get Lots 1 & 2 and continue to use S-92 and AW189 in the ten base solution.
Everybody TUPE over and job done.
SCENARIO TWO - RADICAL
Two different new contractors get Lots 1 & 2 with an accountant's wet dream using H175 and H160 at 14 bases.
Oh dear. Where are all these SAR aircrew coming from? Where are suitably qualified transition crew coming from?

[email protected] 17th Mar 2021 07:25


Everybody TUPE over and job done.
that same TUPE that was summarily ignored when the military crews moved to Bristow?


Oh dear. Where are all these SAR aircrew coming from? Where are suitably qualified transition crew coming from?
The same place as last time, the incumbent service provided most of both.

lowfat 17th Mar 2021 08:59

LOL 145.. can you remember all the bitching and moaning about the aw 189 god it'll be unbearable on here if airbus get a foot in the door.

Baldeep Inminj 17th Mar 2021 12:09

Jimf671

Where will the crews come from? Really?

If Bristow lose the contract, do you seriously not believe that their SAR crews will be banging at the door of the winning bidder - honestly?

If company ‘X’ win (where ‘X’ is not Bristow), then finding crews will be the least of their problems as the current crews will pile across, TUPE or not.

jimf671 17th Mar 2021 13:29

I have pointed out what I expect might be the minimum and maximum mobilisation training load. I have considered what was happening in 2013-19 and I think that's fair.

rotor-rooter 17th Mar 2021 16:19

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicop...142922.article

Airbus Helicopters has only one long-range rotorcraft in its line-up: the H225 heavy-twin. However the Super Puma’s reputation in the UK has never fully recovered from the effects of a fatal crash caused by a gearbox failure in 2016.

While the company declines to say whether or not it will propose the type, it adds: “The issues, such as they were, have been extensively addressed and explained to the whole community.”
“The issues, such as they were, have been extensively addressed and explained to the whole community.” I must have missed this explanation, can anyone enlighten me? I was aware that the failure mode had been determined, but have never seen it published anywhere.

hargreaves99 17th Mar 2021 17:02

Airbus won't get UK SAR, their reputation has been trashed by the 225 debacle and their poor response to it.

The AW139/AW169 has triumphed over Airbus/Eurocopter


Baldeep Inminj 17th Mar 2021 18:26


Originally Posted by hargreaves99 (Post 11010716)
Airbus won't get UK SAR, their reputation has been trashed by the 225 debacle and their poor response to it.

The AW139/AW169 has triumphed over Airbus/Eurocopter

A very good point. They certainly have some work to regain confidence but any bid from them simply cannot include the 225, that would kill them.

jimf671 17th Mar 2021 19:31

The H225 is optimised for long crew change flights over the sea. The published 800m HOGE figure doesn't make me optimistic about its suitability for a LandSAR-dominated deployment in rocky western and northern corners of the kingdom.

Maybe someone with H225 experience can enlighten us regarding real-world mountain performance?

[email protected] 17th Mar 2021 19:58

I suspect you will need to analyse the statistics to see just how often that very long range capability was needed since 2015 - perhaps you don't need so many big helos and could concentrate the smaller ones with better hover performance where they are needed.


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