Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the invitation to tender for search and rescue helicopters includes a requirement that helicopters be equipped with night vision goggles.
Michael Penning (Hemel Hempstead, Conservative)
The UK Search and Rescue Helicopters project has an output based requirement including the requirement to operate aircraft safely at low level at night and in low light conditions in both the maritime and overland environments. The contractor must also enable the aircrew (pilots and rear-crew) to conduct aided visual searches. It is for the contractor to develop solutions to meet these requirements. However, it is highly unlikely that the contractor could meet these requirements without the use of night vision aids. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) already permits the use of night vision devices in civilian registered aircraft subject to the demonstration of adequate training processes and safe operating procedures.