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#COASTGUARD - Sikorsky has completed production of a new S-92 helicopter for the Irish Coast Guard under the rescue service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland.

The US-based helicopter firm and CHC formalised the purchase on Wednesday (21 December) with Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds during a hand-over ceremony at the S-92 commercial helicopter 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.

The new aircraft will be based at Shannon and will replace the current coastguard SAR helicopter, a Sikorsky S-61, which has given 20 years of unbroken service.

According to Sikorsky, the S-92 is equipped with 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.

Reynolds said the new helicopter - which joins four second-hand machines on a 10-year lease - represents a stepped improvement in Ireland's ability to care for and service its seagoing, coastal and island communities.

"I am very happy that the Coast Guard will operate what I consider to be the leading SAR helicopter in the world," he added.

As reported earlier this year on Afloat.ie, the new chopper is part of a deal that raised questions from a Fine Gael TD over allegations that a competing tender did not have a "good reputation".

Fergus O'Dowd questioning the contract with CHC Ireland after receiving documents in which Chris Reynolds said the Air Corps – whose helicopters are supplied by AgustaWestland - were uneqipped for the role and that no cost saving would be made if they took on the service.

Published in Coastguard
The Irish Coast Guard's recent €500m deal with CHC Ireland to provide search and rescue services should be investigated, a Fine Gael TD has urged.
According to the Irish Independent, Fergus O'Dowd is questioning the deal after receiving documents under the Freedom of Information act in which the head of the Irish Coast Guard said the Air Corps were uneqipped for the role and no cost saving would be made if they took on the service.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Air Corps' helicopter supplier AgustaWestland strongly disputed allegations that its helicopters did not have a "good reputation".
The contract will see CHC Ireland provide four helicopters (plus one backup) across the country on a 10-year lease. It is understood that this will include one new Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and four second-hand machines from the UK.
Meanwhile, controversy has arisen regarding a similar deal in the UK with a consortium that includes CHC Ireland's parent firm.
The British government has abandoned the procurement process over claims of irregularities in the bidding process of the deal which went to Soteria, a consortium including CHC, Sikorsky and French defence group Thales.
The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

The Irish Coast Guard's recent €500m deal with CHC Ireland to provide search and rescue services should be investigated, a Fine Gael TD has urged.

According to the Irish Independent, Fergus O'Dowd is questioning the deal after receiving documents under the Freedom of Information act in which the head of the Irish Coast Guard said the Air Corps were uneqipped for the role and no cost saving would be made if they took on the service.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Air Corps' helicopter supplier AgustaWestland strongly disputed allegations that its helicopters did not have a "good reputation".

The contract will see CHC Ireland provide four helicopters (plus one backup) across the country on a 10-year lease. It is understood that this will include one new Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and four second-hand machines from the UK.

Meanwhile, controversy has arisen regarding a similar deal in the UK with a consortium that includes CHC Ireland's parent firm.

The British government has abandoned the procurement process over claims of irregularities in the bidding process of the deal which went to Soteria, a consortium including CHC, Sikorsky and French defence group Thales.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
The Canadian company that provides search and rescue helicopter services for the Coast Guard has reported a €1.5 million operating loss in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, according to the Irish Independent.
CHC Ireland, the local division of the world's largest helicopter services company, operates search and rescue services out of Dublin, Shannon, Waterford and Sligo.
Directors of the firm, which employs more than 100 nationwide, noted that the loss - coming after a €3.2 million loss in the previous financial year - was reduced due to the closure of its Cork base and lower aircraft leasing costs.
Last year the Government awarded CHC a new 10-year contract worth €500 million to operate search and rescue services, despite proposals from the Air Corps that it could provide the same service at a much lower rate.
The Independent reported recently that one of the world's top helicopter makers has denied claims made by the Coast Guard that the Air Corps does not have the equipment to undertake search and rescue operations.
AgustaWestland, which supplies the main helicopter used by the Air Corps, disputed allegations by Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds that the AW139 had not earned a "good reputation" elsewhere.

The Canadian company that provides search and rescue helicopter services for the Coast Guard has reported a €1.5 million operating loss in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, according to the Irish Independent.

CHC Ireland, the local division of the world's largest helicopter services company, operates search and rescue services out of Dublin, Shannon, Waterford and Sligo.

Directors of the firm, which employs more than 100 nationwide, noted that the loss - coming after a €3.2 million loss in the previous financial year - was reduced due to the closure of its Cork base and lower aircraft leasing costs. 

Last year the Government awarded CHC a new 10-year contract worth €500 million to operate search and rescue services, despite proposals from the Air Corps that it could provide the same service at a much lower rate.

The Irish Independent reported recently that one of the world's top helicopter makers has denied claims made by the Coast Guard that the Air Corps does not have the equipment to undertake search and rescue operations. 

AgustaWestland, which supplies the main helicopter used by the Air Corps, disputed allegations by Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds that the AW139 had not earned a "good reputation" elsewhere.

Published in Coastguard

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