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Air-Sea Rescue

Volume 885: debated on Monday 3 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many times helicopters have been called on in air-sea rescue and search operations for each year since 1970; and from which bases they took place.

Our records do not distinguish between rescue operations over land and those over the sea, and the figures for 1970 and 1971 are not complete. Subject to that, the information in respect of Service helicopters is as follows:

In the United Kingdom, the Royal Air Force deploys 8 detachments, of two Whirlwind helicopters each, at Acklington, Brawdy, Chivenor, Coltishall, Leconfield, Leuchars, Lossiemouth and Valley, together with a detachment of two Wessex helicopters at Manston, at high states of readiness specifically for air-sea rescue work. The Royal Navy similarly deploys two detachments of two Whirlwinds each at Culdrose and Lee-on-Solent. For long-range search and rescue, the Royal Air Force maintains a Nimrod aircraft on permanent standby at either Kinloss or St. Mawgan. A considerable number of other aircraft can be made available by both Services in emergency to back up these primary facilities.Neither the Royal Navy nor the Royal Air Force maintains surface vessels specifically for search and rescue but all vessels have an accepted international obligation to assist in emergencies at sea. The Services can provide a wide range of assistance when required.No distinction is made between civil and military incidents when responding to an emergency call.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many air-sea searches by Nimrod aircraft have been carried out for each of the years since 1970.

The information is as follows:

United KingdomOverseas
19706
197181
1972237
1973335
1974249
Until 1972 the majority of long-range air-sea searches were carried out by the Shackleton and the figures for this aircraft are as follows:

United KingdomOverseas
19706923
19715914
1972210
197360
197440