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On 28 November 2011, the Department for Transport (DfT) commenced the procurement process for UK Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter services by issuing a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
The contract will be for the provision of the UK SAR helicopter services on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to cover UK search and rescue region covered by the current helicopter rescue capability. This service will require an all-weather SAR helicopter service able to operate throughout the UK and in the maritime environment.
The helicopter service must be responsive, able to search a wide area of interest, locate and recover personnel and stabilize casualties from all risk areas including mountainous terrain and the maritime environment.
The helicopter service is currently based at the following locations: Sumburgh, Stornoway (Isle of Lewis), Culdrose, Wattisham, Valley, Boulmer, Portland, Lee-on-Solent, Chivenor, Leconfield, Lossiemouth and Prestwick.
The service currently operates 365 days a year on a 24 hour basis (apart from Portland which operates on a 12 hour basis (daytime operation)). Service delivery shall continue at or in the vicinity of all bases with the exception of Boulmer and Portland where SAR operations will cease on the introduction of the new contract.