Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre
|Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre
Royal Navy Sea King
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Role||All air-sea rescue and search and rescue in the UK|
Kinloss, Moray Scotland
|Helicopter||Sea King HAR.3, HH-60 Pave Hawk (USAF)|
|Reconnaissance||Hawker Siddeley Nimrod|
The centre is responsible for coordinating all RAF, Royal Navy and Maritime and Coastguard Agency Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters, and also the Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Service. It monitors rescues in the United Kingdom Search and Rescue Region (UK SRR), which extends to 30 degrees west in longitude, and from 45 to 61 degrees north latitude (as far north as just south of the Danish Faroe Islands), excluding the Republic of Ireland (Ireland SRR).
RAF Sea King helicopters can operate up to 250 miles from their base, with an endurance of six hours; for those in the Fleet Air Arm, this is reduced to 4 hours and 200 miles.
Kinloss has no helicopter squadrons, however it controls rescue helicopters at:
- RM Chivenor, just WEST of Barnstaple in North Devon
- Wattisham Airfield, just south of Stowmarket in Suffolk
- RAF Valley, about six miles east of Holyhead in Anglesey
- RAF Boulmer, about three miles east of Alnwick, on the Northumberland coast
- RAF Lossiemouth, about seven miles east of Kinloss, just north of Elgin, Moray.
- RAF Leconfield, just north of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire
Fleet Air Arm
- RNAS Culdrose, just south of Helston on the A3083 in southern Cornwall
- RNAS Prestwick on part of Glasgow Prestwick Airport in South Ayrshire - this covers Northern Ireland as well as the Lake District
- Stornoway Airport on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides
- Sumburgh Airport, south of Lerwick in the Shetland Islands
- Lee-on-Solent, four miles west of Portsmouth in Hampshire
- Portland, within Portland Harbour
Military and Coastguard helicopters are on standby 24 hours a day to assist those in difficulty, both at sea and over land. Helicopter crews are at 15 minutes notice during the day, reducing to 45 minutes at night.
The control centre is manned by military staff, supplemented by civilian MOD employees who operated the long-range HF communication equipment. Using an IBM-based Rescue Coordination System (RCS), the coordinators task helicopters following requests from the emergency services. With an area of responsibility spanning almost 1 million square miles, the ARCC deals with incidents across the whole of the UK out to half way across the North Atlantic.
ARCC coordinating staff come from a variety of backgrounds, including SAR helicopters, RAF Nimrod patrol aircraft, and Mountain Rescue, and work very closely with the Coastguard, Police, Ambulance Authorities and Fire & Rescue Services.
UK Mission Control Centre
The ARCC is also home to the UK Cospas-Sarsat Mission Control Centre (UKMCC). This is the centre that detects emergency beacons within the UK Search and Rescue Region (SRR) using an advanced computer system. Maritime distress beacon information is passed to the Coastguard authorities but terrestrial alerts are investigated by the UKMCC, often requiring the use of SAR helicopters to pinpoint the beacon's position.