Bristow Ireland and the Irish government have signed off on a 10-year contract covering the provision of search and rescue services for the country’s coastguard.

Worth €670 million ($737 million), the deal will see the Bristow Group subsidiary deploy six Leonardo Helicopters AW189s across four bases in the Irish Republic: Sligo, Shannon, Waterford, and Dublin Weston. These replace the Sikorsky S-92s used on the current contract.

1. AW189 SAR Side-view_02

Bristow will deploy AW189s on new Irish contract

In addition, a pair of Beechcraft King Airs will be supplied by 2Excel Aviation – extending a partnership in place on the UK’s SAR2G contract for the provision of fixed-wing aircraft. The twin-turboprops will be based at Shannon airport.

Bristow will begin transitioning to the new contract, from incumbent CHC Ireland, in the fourth quarter of 2024.

The contract includes an optional three-year extension and also includes a provision for the Irish Air Corps to take over the fixed-wing element of the service after five years.

CHC Ireland had appealed against the selection of Bristow as the preferred bidder, putting a temporary stay on the contract signature that was later lifted.