UK State Transport Minister Robert Goodwill has officially launched a £7m civilian coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter base at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Scotland.
The SAR base is part of the £1.9bn, ten-year contract offered to Bristow Helicopters by the UK Department for Transport in 2013.
The base will carry out SAR operations, which was previously the responsibility of the Royal Navy.
The base serves as a home to two Sikorsky S92 aircraft, of which one will be dispatched soon to handle emergencies.
Robert Goodwill said: "The new Prestwick Search and Rescue base will provide a vital emergency rescue service at sea, in coastal areas and inland throughout Scotland and the UK.
"The brand new state-of-the-art helicopters flying from here will be on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to reach those in need.
"Our investment has provided helicopters that can fly further and faster than the previous service and shows our commitment to helping keep Scotland safe."
Prestwick is the fourth SAR helicopter base in Scotland, which will serve west Scotland, northern England, Northern Ireland, and across UK during emergency. The other three SAR base in Scotland are in Inverness, Stornoway and Sumburgh.
Led by captain Craig Sweeney, the operations at the base are scheduled to begin in January.
Sweeney was reported by Herald Scotland as saying: "We are very fortunate to have the S92, which is an excellent aircraft with a strong track record of successful SAR operations across the UK."
The helicopters are equipped with the latest search and rescue technology including night vision and advanced onboard medical facilities, allowing them to operate in all weathers.
Image: Robert Goodwill with the president and CEO of Bristow, Jonathan Baliff, at Prestwick Airport. Photo: courtesy of UK Department for Transport / Crown Copyright.