Ireland has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for new medium-lift helicopters which will initially replace smaller helicopters for search and rescue (SAR).

The Irish Department of Defence says it needs two medium-lift machines immediately, with an option for a third SAR aircraft and a further option for two similar helicopters to be used as troop transports.

Machines on offer are expected to include the EH Industries EH101, Eurocopter AS332/532 Super Puma/Cougar and Sikorsky S-92. Competitors have until early September to respond to the RFP, with Dublin expecting to issue a request for tender four to six weeks later and aiming to achieve a 2002 in-service date.


The first two machines will replace a Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin and Aerospatiale Alouette III used for SAR from Donegal and Waterford, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Irish Ministry of Marine and National Resources has awarded Scotia Helicopters a contract to provide SAR services for five years from January 2002 using Sikorsky S-61Ns. Scotia will supply four helicopters as part of the deal, with machines based in Dublin and Shannon.

Bond Helicopters, now part of Scotia, provides the current service.

Source: Flight International