THE MARITIME and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has launched two new aircraft to aid search and rescue missions at sea.
The Beechcraft King Air B200 planes will be able to spot people in the water up to 40 miles away thanks to multiple sensors.
They will also be able to drop emergency locator beams, communications and first aid equipment to people in danger.
The MCA said pilots and their crew would be on stand-by to respond to emergencies “around the UK coastline”.
The planes will operate out of Doncaster-Sheffield Airport, and the MCA clarified they will be able to fly anywhere in the UK.
It is expected they will undertake around 1,000 hours of flying a year.
They are equipped with electro-optical infrared search cameras and the latest multi-spectral reconnaissance sensors, which are coordinated through an “integrated mission control system”.
Maritime minister Nusrat Ghani said: “From pulling fisherman from treacherous waters, to hoisting people to safety from the most remote locations in the country, MCA rescue teams carry out vital lifesaving work every day.
“The ground-breaking new technology aboard these new aircraft will be an invaluable asset in time critical rescue situations, ensuring our rescue teams are better equipped than ever to save lives.”
MCA commercial and programmes director Damien Oliver, said: “These Beechcraft King Air B200 aircraft are a welcome addition to the MCA’s fleet of helicopters and planes and boast state-of-the-art cameras and sensors that can detect people in the water at considerable distance.
“The aircraft will also provide further assistance to other public bodies in the work that they do.”
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