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The Netherlands Defence Materiel Organization (DMO) has awarded Bristow Group, a provider of vertical flight solutions, a contract to provide its Coastguard with search and rescue helicopters.

The contract involves providing the permanent availability of dedicated SAR equipped AW189 helicopters and highly qualified crews from two operational bases in the Netherlands. Bristow will also introduce new technologies such as mission management and data-link systems, enhancing the interoperability of the service with all Netherlands SAR stakeholders.

The 24/7 all-weather search and rescue service will aid 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 AW189 8-ton class helicopters are designed for All Weather Day and Night, VFR/IFR certified (visual/instrument flight rules), and operate seamlessly in the harsh conditions prevalent in offshore operations. The cabin is configured with 16 passenger seats. Their cruise airspeed is 267 km/hr and endurance is 3.1 hours.

The 10-year contract, with two one-year extension options, will commence in November 2022. 

The company will provide “a modern fleet of helicopters along with highly experienced aircrews and engineers to provide an unmatched, life-saving capability as the best value to the government,” according to its announcement.