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Nova Systems to support multi-billion-dollar UK program

Nova Systems to support multi-billion-dollar UK program

The company has teamed up with industry partners to support the UK’s decade-long, next-generation search and rescue helicopter program.

The company has teamed up with industry partners to support the UK’s decade-long, next-generation search and rescue helicopter program.

Bristow Helicopters has been awarded a £1.6 billion (AU$2.7 billion) contract from the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for the Second-Generation Search and Rescue Aviation (UKSAR2G) program.

As part of its offering, Bristow has committed to working with fixed-wing aerospace services company 2Excel Aviation and engineering services company Nova Systems.


The 10-year contract is expected to combine two existing aviation contracts for fixed wing aircraft and rotary aircraft, while also including the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

This latest contract builds on Bristow’s previous work for the MCA in cooperation with 2Excel Aviation.

Bristow is expected to continue operating from 10 existing bases, while also launching two new seasonal bases in Fort William, Scotland and Carlisle, England.

Meanwhile, 2Excel Aviation and Nova Systems are set to operate the following:

  • 18 helicopters, including nine existing Leonardo AW189s and three existing Sikorsky S-92s augmented by the introduction of six new Leonardo AW139 helicopters;
  • six King Air fixed-wing airplanes, including the B350, B350ER and the B200 at Doncaster, Prestwick and Newquay; and 
  • one mobile deployable Schiebel CAMCOPTER S-100 UAS.

“We are very pleased with the MCAs trust in Bristow to continue to provide safe and reliable search and rescue services with our crews to help save lives throughout the United Kingdom, Bristow president and CEO Chris Bradshaw said.

“Through this new, innovative contract, Bristow and our partners will increase efficiencies and innovations as well as establish additional seasonal bases to further expand our service.

Andy Offer, co-founder and director of 2Excel Aviation, welcomed the opportunity to leverage the company’s experience in the space to support the UKSAR2G program.

“This contract builds on the existing capabilities we have delivered to the MCA over the past few years with our fixed-wing aircraft packed with state-of-the-art integrated sensors; delivering services to a myriad of government agencies including border security, fisheries patrol, as well as life-saving search and rescue for HM Coastguard – working collaboratively with our partner Bristow,” Offer added.

Through the new contract, Bristow and its partners 2Excel and Nova Systems will work to deliver greater innovation in the provision of search and rescue services across the UK region, providing even greater levels of support to those at risk.

Gareth Dyer, managing director, international for Nova Systems, added: “With our experience working at the leading edge of aerospace technology and mission system development, and with our unique mix of technical and operational domain expertise, we look forward to enhancing the UKs SAR capability and delivering a world-class innovation program to the Bristow team and the MCA.”

The companies are set to transition from existing contracts from 30 September 2024 through to 31 December 2026.

[Related: Elbit Systems launches new military helicopter technology]

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