Rescue Services

Transport written question – answered on 8th December 2011.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader

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.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

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.

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