These modern airframes, operated by Bristow Group Helicopters, represent a significant upgrade from the previous Sikorsky S-61N platforms, which have filled the role of support helicopter in the Falklands for the past seven years on the current contract.
Brought into Mare Harbour by the Falkland Islands Resupply Ship (FIRS), the helicopters and their highly trained crews will be on hand to primarily provide a support helicopter capability through the logistical movement of people, spares and supplies around the island.
Earlier this summer, Bristow Group started using the Sikorsky S-92A for tasking, marking the start of the withdrawal of the S-61Ns, which a crucial capability to British forces. Both S-92s are now fully operational.
Bristow Group Helicopters will also continue to operate the highly effective Leonardo AW189 in a search and rescue role.
The introduction of the new Sikorsky helicopters will come with benefits to the Ministry of Defence as the S-92A is equipped with more modern systems, is more reliable, and can operate in poorer weather conditions than its predecessor.
Further improvements will be made by cross-training engineering staff to service and maintain both aircraft types and aligning shift patterns to allow efficient operations across the entire organisation.
The upgrade marks another successful collaboration between DE&S and Strategic Command – known as Defence’s integrator and responsible for running the UK’s network of overseas bases.