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12 July, 2021 - 20:46 By Tony Quested

Law firm acts on historic £2.2bn coastguard contract

Law firm Mills & Reeve is acting for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) on the procurement of the UK second-generation search and rescue aviation programme, worth an estimated £2.2 billion.

The MCA, an executive agency of the Department for Transport, provides the UK’s maritime and coastal search and rescue emergency coordination and response service.

It is procuring the UK second-generation search and rescue aviation programme (UKSAR2G) to replace its existing contracts which are due to expire between 2024 and 2026. 

The programme will enable Her Majesty's Coastguard to fulfil its international search and rescue obligations, rescue people in distress and monitor polluting, illegal or anti-competitive activity.

Mills & Reeve advised on all aspects of UKSAR2G to date including drafting of the contract and KPI mechanism and all procurement documentation. The MCA has now completed the initial selection stage and has issued the invitation to tender to shortlisted bidders. It is expected that the contract will be awarded in late summer 2022 following negotiations.

Raith Pickup, a partner from Mills & Reeve who led the team alongside fellow partner Jens Henniker Heaton, said: “This is one of the largest procurements we have worked on in our government sector and its effects will be felt across a number of government departments and public bodies that this contract will support – including the police searching for missing people and the NHS when patients need to be transported quickly.”

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Robert Courts said in a statement to Parliament: “The scale of this collaboration is seldom seen in government procurement. The MCA should be commended for thinking beyond requirements to maximise the value form its investment in aviation services.”

The programme will continue to protect the public using state-of the-art aviation technology. The contract will look for innovation from government suppliers including drone technology and the Government is seeking suppliers who use innovation to drive efficiencies.

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