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Coastguard Takes Delivery of New Chopper

20th February 2012
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Coastguard Takes Delivery of New Chopper

#COASTGUARD – The Irish Coast Guard took delivery of its new search and rescue helicopter at its Shannon base in late January.

Production of the Sikorsky S-92 was completed last year under the rescue service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland to revamp its aircraft fleet.

The US-based helicopter firm and CHC formalised the purchase on 21 December with Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds during a hand-over ceremony at the S-92 assembly facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

Equipped for dedicated search and rescue (SAR) operations, the helicopter will provide coverage for deep Atlantic Ocean missions, service Ireland's offshore islands and provide rescue cover on the west coast from Cork to Galway.

sikorsky1

According to Sikorsky, the S-92 features advanced systems and hardware, including an automated flight control system that enables the pilot to fly pre-programmed search patterns and perform delicate hover manoeuvres; a wireless intercom allowing a rescue swimmer to communicate with the crew; radio transceivers to communicate with ships and rescue services; a weather radar and infrared sensor; and a digital video system to record rescues.

Training with crews at Shannon began in Februarty ahead of the S-92's first public demonstration at the centenary of the Titanic's departure from Cobh.

The 10-year deal with CHC will also see the coastguard's remaining four Sikorsky S-61s replaced by second-hand S-62s from Scotland over the coming months.

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Meanwhile, it is expected that the Air Corps may be offered an upgraded air ambulance role, after they were ruled out as contenders for search and rescue work amid some controversy.

Published in Coastguard
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