Bristow SAR award boon to AgustaWestland

March 27, 2013 at 5:02 PM

YEOVIL, England, March 27 (UPI) -- Britain's contracting of Bristow Helicopters Ltd. for nationwide search-and-rescue services is multimillion-dollar boon for AgustaWestland.

Under the 10-year contract announced by Britain's Department of Transport, Bristow will operate 22 helicopters for the civilian SAR program, and Bristow said 11 of those will be AgustaWestland AW189s in an SAR variant.

AgustaWestland, an English-Italian company will manufacture the aircraft in Yeovil. It said the aircraft -- plus related training, maintenance and support service it would provide to Bristow is worth about $358 million.

"We are delighted to be working with Bristow Helicopters Ltd. to ensure the continuity and success of rescue services in the U.K.," said Graham Cole, chairman of AgustaWestland Ltd. "AgustaWestland has been at the heart of UK search and rescue since 1955 and is proud to be continuing its association with this vital service."

The AW189 is a twin-engine medium-lift aircraft with a cruising speed of 165-172 miles per hour. The aircraft had its maiden flight in 2011.

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