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RAF search and rescue service to be run by US firm

Sea King helicopter Credit: PA

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.