The UK Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre' (ARCC) is based at
RAF Kinloss, near Forres in Moray. The centre is responsible for coordinating all RAF, Royal Navyand MCA Search and Rescue(SAR) helicopters, and also the RAF Mountain Rescue Service.
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.
During recent years the ARCC has assisted with rescues during the Sheffield floods, the Grayrigg Rail Crash and the
Boscastle floods, and deals with over 2000 incidents each year.
The ARCC is also home to the UK 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.
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