UK RAF A109 GZ100 EHRD 31Mar17 André Wadman 640Exit RAF 32(TR) Squadron AW109SP

Under the Rotary Wing Command Support Air Transport (RWCSAT), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had a contract with Sloane Helicopters for the supply of a single helicopter for VIP transport duties.

Since 27 November 2015, AW109SP GZ100 (c/n 22347, ex G-ZIOO, ex I-PFTP) was in use under this contract. The contract expired on 1 April 2023, but a tender was issued by the MoD in December 2022 to extend it for another five years. Plans seem to have changed, since the new contract which was issued was for a six months extention only and not for five years.

During the summer it was decided not to further extend the contract and it expired on 30 September 2023. According to the MoD this was "part of ensuring available funds are prioritised on key areas". Furthermore, the MoD stated that "the capability will be removed and essential senior travel fulfilled by other means".

In August 2023, Sloane Helicopters offered the AW109SP for sale. At the moment these words are written, it had not yet returned to its former civil registration. But it is noteable that the helicopter still used RAF call signs "KRF13" (used when flying Royals or Senior Govt) when it took to the sky again after expiry of the contract.

Credit photo: André Wadman (Scramble Archive)

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