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|Garda Cósta na hÉireann|
|Irish Coast Guard|
The Irish Marine Emergency Service (IMES) was first established on 1 January 1991, when a contract to operate one S-61N helicopter for Search and Rescue (SAR) duties came into effect. The contract was operated by Irish Helicopters and the aircraft was based at Shannon. On 1 January 1997, a new contract with Bond Helicopters came into effect, for the provision of two Shannon-based machines, one being a backup to the primary SAR aircraft.
On 29 June 1998, a second helicopter base was inaugurated at Dublin Airport, providing coverage of the east coast with a single Bond-operated S-61N. On 2nd February 2000 the IMES was renamed the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) to better reflect its role. In the same year Bond Helicopters was renamed CHC Helicopters. In 2002 a third base was opened at Waterford in the south of the country. In 2003 the Coast Guard took over the operation of an IAC operated S-61N at Sligo, giving a more even distribution of helicopter missions.
CHC were subsequently awarded a further contract renewal to provide SAR services from July 2007 to July 2010. It is likely that a future contract will require replacement of the aging S-61Ns with a more modern design.
|1 January 1991||Irish Marine Emergency Service (IMES) established.|
|1997||Service expanded to two helicopters.|
|2 February 2000||IMES renamed to Irish Coast Guard.|
|2003||Fourth helicopter base opened.|
Search and Rescue missions off the coast of Ireland are contracted out by the Department of the Marine to a civil operator on behalf of the Irish Coast Guard. The present contractor has been providing the service since 1997, initially as Bond Helicopters, but now known as CHC Helicopters.
Replace the S-61Ns with a more modern design, most likely the Sikorsky S-92.
The helicopters operate in civil markings, with civil registrations and IRISH COAST GUARD / ‘Garda Cósta na hEirann’ service titles.
Aircraft Serial Numbers
Coast Guard helicopters carry civil registrations.
Coding system not used
None – Manufacturers designations used
Current Aircraft Inventory
|Aircraft Type||Total Del’d||Total Active||Still on Order||Role|
All-Time Aircraft Used List
|Aircraft Type||Quantity||Service Entry||Out of Service||Origin||Sikorsky S-61N||2||1991||1997||Irish|
Irish = operated by Irish Helicopters under contract.
CHC = operated by CHC Ireland under contract.
Aircraft NOT Used
False reports of aircraft on order or in service – none known.
There are normally six Sikorsky S-61N’s active: four on 24hr standby and two reserve helicopters. Two are based at Shannon Airport, two based at Waterford Airport, one at Dublin Airport and one in Sligo (this latter was formerly operated by the IAC).
Current Unit Assignments
|1 x Sikorsky S-61N||Dublin-Collinstown|
|2 x Sikorsky S-61N||Shannon|
|2 x Sikorsky S-61N||Waterford|
|1 x Sikorsky S-61N||Sligo|
Historical Unit Assignments
All-Time Flying Units List
Current Air Bases
See current organisation, above.
All-Time Air Bases Used List
Bases used by the IMES/IRCG are: Shannon (since Jan 1991), Dublin (since June 1998), Waterford (since 2002) and Sligo (since 2003).
To be added
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