Bristow Ireland Limited, a subsidiary of Bristow Group Inc, has signed a contract with the Irish Department of Transport to provide rotary and fixed-wing Search and Rescue (SAR) services for the Irish Coast Guard.

Bristow’s Irish subsidiary was announced as the preferred bidder for the ten-year contract (worth an estimated €670 million) in June 2023 and Bristow is scheduled to begin transitioning to the new contract in the fourth quarter of 2024, delivering ‘nationwide all-weather 24-hour coverage, 365 days a year’. Under the new contract, Bristow will create or sustain more than 150 jobs ‘ranging from specialist ground support, engineering, flight operations, and in-country maintenance and support capabilities’.

The rotary-wing element of the service will operate six specialised SAR-configured AW189 helicopters from four dedicated bases in Slingo, Shannon, Waterford and Dublin Weston, ‘configured with the latest evolution of mission system reflecting the requirements of the Irish Coast Guard’.

Additionally, a new fixed-wing element will co-ordinate with the helicopter fleet to ‘provide highly sophisticated aircraft mission management and communications systems’. Two specialised King Airs (operating from Shannon Airport) will provide operational support for SAR and environmental monitoring, and will also be available to deliver ‘Top Cover’ support to helicopters ‘engaged in long range medical evacuations’.

As Bristow prepare to deliver a “safe, dependable and innovative service that will deliver world-class search and rescue across the country,” Alan Corbett, Bristow’s Chief Operating Officer Government Serivces, added: “The entire team of Bristow Ireland Ireland Limited is honoured to be chosen to deliver this critical and life-saving service for the people of Ireland”.

The Irish Department of Transport note that the new service will be introduced ‘gradually on a phased basis’ and is expected to be ‘fully operational by July 2025’.