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AirKnight Submits SAR-H Technical Proposal
(London, UK) June 16, 2009 - AirKnight, the teaming of Lockheed Martin UK, VT Group and British International Helicopters, has submitted its final technical solution for the UK's Search and Rescue Helicopter (SAR-H) programme.
AirKnight will continue to advance its proposal in preparation for submission of the final financial and commercial proposals, which are due later this year.
The solution is based on a comprehensive service offering utilising 12 UK bases, the same number as the existing SAR service uses, and an advanced platform based on the Eurocopter EC225.
AirKnight bid director Tom Gordon explained: "We have brought together the very best in platform technology and an innovative, long-term service proposal to produce a robust service offering which we believe will deliver a harmonised SAR service.
"AirKnight will take the highly regarded existing service and enhance this further by introducing a modern helicopter platform and effective operating procedures, ensuring that the UK public can continue to depend on the service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."
SAR-H is a joint Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Department for Transport Private Finance Initiative project for the provision of a harmonised SAR helicopter service around the UK, and the Falkland Islands. Starting in 2012, SAR-H will see a new fleet of dedicated rescue helicopters that will provide a harmonised service for the UK for up to 30 years.
AirKnight utilises the expertise and experience of Lockheed Martin and VT, who are recognised as leading providers of critical services to Government customers ranging from emergency services to air traffic control. The companies also have a proven track record of successfully managing risk and delivering high availability on capability -based contracts in demanding environments. Through the Ascent joint venture, Lockheed Martin and VT are working together to deliver the UK's Military Flying Training System programme. British International Helicopters has extensive helicopter experience in the challenging Falkland Islands environment.
AirKnight has selected the Eurocopter EC225 as its chosen platform for delivering the SAR service and this will be flown by both civilian and military pilots who undertake SAR operations.
The EC225 is the latest member in the long-serving Super Puma family of helicopters which have flown in excess of 4,000,000+ operational hours. Well suited for SAR, the EC225 can carry 12 or more casualties, fly for more than 500 miles without refuelling and has a door on each side of the cabin to ease casualty recovery. Coupled with a unique 4-axis automatic flight control system specifically designed for helicopters and SAR, the EC225 has been selected for SAR and Coastguard applications in countries including Japan, China, South Korea and Norway.
"Through its parent companies, AirKnight has an impressive combination of proven delivery, financial strength and operational experience. Both Lockheed Martin and VT Group have a demonstrable partnering pedigree and this will be an important element of the SAR-H requirement over the full life of the programme. Coupled with our selection of the EC225, we have, we believe, an unrivalled offering in platform technology and service capability," said Tom Gordon.
Notes to Editors:
* The Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) together provide a 24-hour military and civil helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR) service for the UK SAR Region from 12 bases around the UK. Currently this SAR helicopter service is provided by Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Sea Kings and a civilian helicopter service under contract to the MCA. SAR-H is a MoD and MCA PFI project to replace this capability with a single contract that will still retain a proportion of military aircrew alongside civilian aircrew trained to the same high standards. From 2012, SAR-H will see a new harmonised helicopter service operated under the joint management of the MOD and MCA being progressively introduced across the 12 UK bases.
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion. Lockheed Martin UK, a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, is a leader in systems integration working on major programmes spanning the aerospace, defence and civil sectors. Lockheed Martin works with more than 100 business partners and employs over 1,700 people at sites across the UK.
About VT Group
VT Group is a defence and support services company. Customers include government agencies and businesses worldwide. VT Group employs nearly 16,000 people and has its Headquarters in Southampton, UK. It comprises four engineering-based support businesses operating from various locations primarily in the UK, USA and Middle East. VT is also a Joint Venture partner with BAE Systems in BVT Surface Fleet Limited, which includes its shipbuilding and naval support businesses.
About British International Helicopters
British International has a long-standing relationship with the Ministry of Defence providing helicopter support to the Falkland Island Garrison and Flag Officer Sea Training and Joint Maritime Courses in Plymouth and off the west coast of Scotland. British International undertakes its own maintenance and has also diversified into providing third party helicopter and fixed wing maintenance services and training. It is certified to BS EN ISO 9001:2000 by the British Standards Institute and holds a JAR145 maintenance approval. The Company's headquarters are in Sherborne, Dorset and it currently employs approximately 160 staff.