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The RAF search and rescue helicopters flying out of Wattisham airfield in Suffolk have helped to save countless lives.
But from 2015 they will be no more. Instead a private firm will operate the service and the nearest base will be Kent.
The Government's signed a £1.6 billion deal, ending 70 years of search and rescue run by the RAF and Royal Navy and has handed the contract to the US based Bristow Group.
But as the coastguard stations at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk and Walton on the Naze in Essex both prepare for closure, there are concerns the move to relocate air support could leave our coastline vulnerable.
Transport minister Stephen Hammond has defended the Government's decision to privatise search and rescue operations currently carried out by the RAF.
The region's only search and rescue helicopter base - at Wattisham in Suffolk - is to be axed after the service was privatised.
Britain's search-and-rescue helicopter service, which employs the Duke of Cambridge, is to be run by Bristow Helicopters, the Government announced today.
The award of the £1.6 billion deal ends 70 years of a service run by the RAF and Royal Navy squadrons.
It also spells the end of the use of Sea King helicopters - flown by William - in search-and-rescue (SAR) work.
Under the new contract, 22 state-of-the-art helicopters will operate from 10 locations around the UK.
The region is to lose its only air sea rescue base as part of a radical reshuffle of the service.
The base at Wattisham in Suffolk has been home to 2 RAF Sea King helicopters covering the East coast.
Now the private firm Bristow is to take over the service from the armed forces, and the Wattisham operation will move to Manston in Kent.