Government Services

Search and Rescue Services

Search and Rescue Services

United Kingdom

Bristow is the provider of helicopter search and rescue (SAR) services in the United Kingdom, on behalf of His Majesty's Coastguard. Bristow has a long history of providing world class SAR services, beginning in 1971 at Royal Air Force Manston. Bristow was awarded the initial 10-year contract in March 2013 which transitioned the service from the military to Bristow. This contract was extended to run through December 2026. Employing approximately 360 people, Bristow operates from 10 strategically located SAR helicopter bases around the United Kingdom on behalf of HM Coastguard to respond to all SAR incidents for the whole of the United Kingdom. 

Bristow was awarded a £1.6 billion 10-year contract for the Second-Generation Search and Rescue Aviation (UKSAR2G) program by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), an executive agency of the Department for Transport. As part of the new contract, Bristow will continue to operate from their current 10 bases and will launch two new seasonal bases in Fort William and Carlisle, to serve areas around two of the busiest locations for summer tourism. The Fort William and Carlisle bases will operate 12 hours a day from April to September. All other helicopter bases will continue to be operational 24 hours a day.

The new contract will see the U.K. search and rescue region benefit from innovation and advances in technology to save more lives, even more quickly. We will transition from the current contracts starting from September 30, 2024 through to December 31, 2026, to ensure a continuation of critical search and rescue aviation services across the whole of the U.K.



The Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) awarded Bristow their prestigious contract to provide search and rescue helicopter capacity to the Netherlands Coastguard. 

Bristow provides a 24/7 all-weather search and rescue service and is tasked by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Den Helder. In addition, the service aids with secondary tasks as required by the coastguard such as dealing with the aftermath of disasters, incidents, and transportation of the Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG).

The 10-year contract, with two one-year extension options, began on November 4, 2022 and involves providing the permanent availability of dedicated SAR equipped AW189 helicopters and highly qualified crews from two operational bases in the Netherlands.

Netherlands SAR

Dutch Caribbean

The Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) awarded Bristow a 10-year contract to provide search and rescue helicopter capacity to the Dutch Caribbean Coastguard.

Bristow operates from the airport of Hato in Curacao, an independent country in the Dutch Caribbean region. Two specifically configured AW139’s perform an 24/7 all-weather role of air reconnaissance, law enforcement and SAR capacity on behalf of the Dutch Caribbean Coastguard. As a secondary role, the helicopters provide humanitarian logistics support to the Dutch island of Saint Maarten in the north Caribbean region during the hurricane season.

Military Support

Military Support

Falkland Islands and Royal Navy Support for U.K. Ministry of Defence

Bristow acquired British International Helicopter Services Limited (BIH) on August 2, 2022. As part of an 18-year partnership with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) in the Falklands, the current BIH 10-year contract began in April 2016, in which more than 110 employees currently deliver combined search and rescue (SAR), and support helicopter services. They currently operate a fleet of two AW189 SAR-configured helicopters and two S-61 helicopters performing various passenger, freight transport, and hoist operations.

In a separate contract which has been running for nearly a decade, BIH also delivers Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST) helicopter support to the Royal Navy operating an AS365 helicopter.

Bristow Defence Industries (BDI)  

Bristow Defence Industries (BDI), a subsidiary of Bristow Helicopters Australia, provides logistics, aircraft life support and fuel service support to ten CH-47F(SG) Chinook aircraft operated by the Republic of Singapore Air Force in Oakey, Queensland, Australia. The BDI team consists of seven personnel, all military veterans. BDI are the RSAF’s longest serving foreign contractor, having continuously supported RSAF in Australia since 1998.

Other Government Services

Other Government Services

U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)

Bristow was awarded a contract with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior, for an initial term of five years that is subject to annual renewals. Bristow provide helicopters and related services, including the provision of flight crews, helicopter maintenance and management of flight operations to BSEE and the U.S. Coast Guard. BSEE utilizes Bristow’s services to transport personnel and cargo in support of its inspection and oversight of offshore oil and gas platforms and vessels located on the Outer Continental Shelf in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Under the terms of the contract, Bristow provides exclusive use helicopters, on-call helicopters and optional helicopters that BSEE may exercise during the contract term. Bristow has been providing this service to BSEE for more than a decade.