|Chapter 5 - Military Search and Rescue|
The Military Search and Rescue Service
The Military Search and Rescue (SAR) service exists primarily to assist military and civilian aircrew in difficulty, although a large proportion of its work involves assisting shipping or people in distress, both on land and at sea. SAR cover for the United Kingdom and a large area of the surrounding sea is provided 24 hours a day and 365 days a year by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.
The Military SAR force currently consists of RAF and RN SAR Sea King helicopters operating from eight locations around the UK and four RAF Mountain Rescue Teams. The Nimrod fixed-wing aircraft based at RAF Kinloss were withdrawn from service in March 2010. Two RAF SAR helicopter units operate in Cyprus and the Falklands.
Incidents can include long range medical evacuation from ships at sea, assistance to vessels in distress, cliff fallers, swimmers, divers and surfers. On land many callouts are to search for missing persons or to rescue injured climbers, walkers, riders or those involved in road traffic accidents. SAR units are also often called upon to provide hospital-to-hospital transfers. Missions can include the rescue of foreign mariners, assistance to foreign flagged vessels or to other countries such as France.
Additional aeronautical Search and Rescue services are provided by four Maritime and Coastguard Agency helicopter units. Details of their activity are not included.
The RAF Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre (ARCC) at RAF Kinloss controls all military aerial resources. It watches over an area extending from the Faeroe Islands in the North, the English Channel in the South, about halfway across the Atlantic Ocean and halfway across the North Sea. It has direct data and voice links with rescue assets in the UK and Europe. Detailed maps and charts are combined with an intimate knowledge of UK topography to enable controllers to match resources to tasks quickly and co-ordinate the rescue operation.
More information about Royal Navy and RAF SAR can be found at:
The UK Military SAR data source is a weekly download from the ARCC database at RAF Kinloss. Every incident recorded by ARCC is included in these tables. Incident data from Cyprus and the Falklands is received by email on an ad-hoc basis and may be incomplete. All data is validated and checked by DASA on receipt.
Table 5.1 shows the numbers of incidents, callouts and people moved from 2000 to 2010.
Table 5.2 shows the number of callouts and people moved by UK Military Search and Rescue units from 2000 to 2010.
Table 5.3 shows the numbers of callouts and people moved by UK Military Search and Rescue units by type of assistance from 2000 to 2010.
Table 5.4 shows the numbers of callouts and people moved in each region around the UK from 2000 to 2010.
Table 5.5 shows the locations of UK Military Search and Rescue callouts in 2010.