Three companies have been shortlisted by the UK government to compete for contracts to provide search and rescue helicopter services across the country.
The successful bidder or bidders will take over roles currently provided by the Royal Navy and RAF - replacing Westland Sea Kings with new-generation civil helicopters. Bond Offshore Helicopters, Bristow Group and CHC Scotia are each pitching for three lots, which cover services across ten UK bases.
Lot one is to deliver the service at, or around, Sumburgh, Stornoway, Culdrose, Leconfield and Valley using helicopters with a minimum rescue capacity per aircraft of eight casualties/survivors - two of which are capable of being stretchered. The aircraft should have a minimum radius of action of 200nm (370km) - or 250nm at Stornoway.
Lot two is to deliver the service from Lee-on-the-Solent and at, or near, Chivenor, Prestwick, Lossiemouth and Wattisham using helicopters with a minimum rescue capacity per aircraft of four casualties/survivors - including two stretchered.
Lot three is a contract covering the requirements of lots one and two.
The contract winners are expected to be announced in early 2013.