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CHC secures Navy SAR contract

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 8, 2017

CHC Group will provide search and rescue (SAR), aeromedical evacuation (AME) and crash response services for the Royal Australian Navy at HMAS Albatross, Nowra under an interim 15-month contract.

The company said on Monday it had deployed an AW139 helicopter to Nowra from its global pool of SAR assets to fulfil the contract. The aircraft is compliant and certified to the latest standards for crash resistance and has been used for similar SAR services in the United Kingdom.

Provision of interim SAR, AME and crash response services would be delivered at HMAS Albatross until the proposed commencement of an Australian Defence Force (ADF) wide contract in 2018.

CHC said the AW139 aircraft would provide search and rescue coverage for all naval helicopter operations in support of aircrew training as well as Navy fleet exercises in the East Australian Exercise Area.

The company noted it now provided search and rescue, AME and crash response services to Royal Australian Air Force, the Army and Navy.

Comments (6)

  • David Reed


    HMAS Albatross is a Naval Air Station full of helicopters and they need to contract out SAR services?

  • TorqueSplit


    You bet they do. It isn’t very cost effective to use a MH-60R (plus it is a little short on cabin space) , the MRH-90 is a small fleet split between sea and shore, whilst the Bell 429 falls well short of the requirements. Things have changed since the days we flew the venerable UH-1B on the daily SAR Check;-)

  • Michael


    Totally agree with you David. Undoubtedly someone will receive a good promotion for this “money saving ” idea. Good grief !

  • Corey


    Why do they need to contract?? Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper for the ADF to use the State and Local not for profit Air Ambulance/ SAR choppers and just pay the operating costs when and if needed? Here in QLD, we have about 8-9 locations with an RACQ Rescue Chopper providing air ambulance/SAR service. NSW Ambulance has just signed new contracts with TOLL and Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service Pty Ltd, the VIC ambulance has 5 brand new AW139s. NT have a contract with Careflight. Why waste money on 1 helicopter when we already have a very capable fleet spread across the nation? If they’re serious about having an SAR service additional MRH90s as it would be much cheaper and allow the ADF to operate wider afield providing not just a greater capability but a much larger versatile capability able to respond when and where needed including overseas in a WAR zone. Same goes with ARMY and Air Force with their SAR Helicopter contracts!

  • Raymond


    Corey comments are always in the same vein… sigh.

    Corey, I suggest that there are greater minds working on this, and there are good reasons why decisions and contracts such as this one are made.

    I would think that the fact this is a military application is why services geared to civilian operations are not suitable and are separate. A military SAR or AME operation cannot wait because a unit is already engaged elsewhere, and I presume crew training would be significantly different. As I said, there are usually good reasons for these things…

    In relation to your war zone comment, I believe you’d find that these contracts are for domestic SAR / AME missions only – as the article says, “in support of aircrew training as well as Navy fleet exercises in the East Australian Exercise Area.”

    By the way, how do you know it would be much cheaper and easier to implement your proposal? Were you involved in the analysis process?

  • Cliff higson


    Will CHC be replacing 30+ yo s76’s with the 139’s aus wide it’d make sense(hence no SAR by defence force)

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