The continued requirement for 771 Squadron's Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT) role will be fully assessed in due course. Assuming the requirement remains, the task will be fulfilled by an equally capable military unit using an in-service helicopter, operating out of its usual base. Helicopters based at RNAS Culdrose would be considered along with all MOD helicopter types, and Culdrose would be considered as a possible future operating base for fulfilment of the MCT role currently undertaken by 771 Squadron.
The requirement specification for the future Search and Rescue Helicopter service is being developed in full consultation with key stakeholders, including senior representatives from RNAS Culdrose, to ensure that the service is at least as effective as the current one. For large scale emergencies the Ministry of Defence policy remains to evaluate the need for Military Aid to the civil community on a case by case basis, dependent upon availability.
Any assessment of basing for the UK Search and Rescue Helicopter service must take account of the capability provided by the UK bases as a whole. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Ministry of Defence “Review of UK Search and Rescue (SAR) Helicopter Provision and Coverage Criteria Report—June 2001” contained a risk assessment of UK Search and Rescue, which included the maritime western approaches. The assessment demonstrated that current basing arrangements, which include RNAS Culdrose, meet the coverage criteria.
Any new helicopter basing arrangement proposed will also be assessed, in terms of the whole UK capability, to ensure that it meets the defined coverage criteria.