AAR and BIH win UK MOD SAR contract in Falklands

AAR announced on January 19, that its Airlift division has been awarded a contract by the UK MOD for Search & Rescue (SAR) and Support Helicopter services in the Falkland Islands.  The 10-year contract is valued at approximately £180 million ($275 million).

AAR Airlift, together with British International Helicopters (BIH) and Air Rescue Systems (ARS), will provide a combined SAR and Support Helicopter service to the British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI) operations.  The program will include AgustaWestland AW-189 SAR helicopters, Sikorsky S-61 support helicopters, flight operations, maintenance, logistics, and facilities support at the Mount Pleasant Complex in the Falkland Islands and surrounding maritime region.

The mission includes all-weather SAR, helicopter emergency medical services, rescue hoist operations, passenger and cargo transfers, and night vision imaging systems.  Readiness states vary from 15-60 minutes response and require a 24/7/365 alert posture. The 10-year contract, with an additional two one-year option periods, is expected to begin on April 1, 2016.

“This award presents a tremendous opportunity for AAR Airlift’s business as part of our strategy to diversify our capabilities and customer base,” said Randy J. Martinez, President & CEO, AAR Airlift Group.  “We are thrilled that our exemplary record of safety, reliability, and operational performance has earned us the confidence of the UK Ministry of Defence to deliver this critical service.”

“We are delighted to be working with AAR, a first class aviation services company with a commitment to excellence, best practice, and delivery that closely matches our own,” said Sir Peter Rigby, Chairman & Founder of BIH owners Rigby Group PLC.  “Backed by BIH’s twenty years’ experience assisting UK MOD operations in the Falklands, I’m extremely confident in our combined ability to provide all the vital military helicopter services for the Islands.”

AAR Airlift provides expeditionary airlift services in support of contingency operations worldwide.  The Company provides passenger and cargo transport, aeromedical services, night vision operations, search and rescue (SAR), airdrop and other special mission services.  AAR Airlift’s fleet of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft serves defense customers in Afghanistan, Africa, the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and the Western Pacific.