Sixty years of military search and rescue has officially come to an end with private operator Bristow Helicopters taking over search and rescue in North Wales. Bristow have a contract to provide the service for up to ten years equipped with new Sikorsky S-92 aircraft to replace the distinctive and iconic yellow Sea Kings of No.22 Squadron RAF.
The deal has also seen the main base of operations move from RAF Valley on Anglesey to a new base at Caernarfon. A second base will be established at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan from October to provide search and rescue for the south coast of Wales.
Bristow’s S-92 helicopters have a crew of four and are capable of flying at 145mph. According to Bristow two thirds of staff at the new Caernarfon base consist of current serving military personnel that will soon transfer to the company having been guaranteed employment.