Lombard has agreed to provide equipment finance worth $200m (€186.5m) for eight search and rescue (SAR) helicopters, subject to UK and US government approval.

The asset finance provider signed a deal with Bristow Group, a provider of industrial aviation services that operates a fleet of 450 aircraft and nine SAR bases in the UK.

Mark Jamieson, head of helicopter finance, Lombard said: “Bristow has had a long-standing relationship with Royal Bank of Scotland so we are delighted that this partnership has extended to Lombard and that we have been able to facilitate the funding to finance the helicopters for this prestigious SAR contract.”

Bristow is currently engaged in a 10-year SAR base contract to provide services in the UK, and the deal will introduce eight SAR helicopters to its UK fleet.

The finance will be denominated in pounds in the form of two seven-year deals, and will enable replacement of the older, Sea King helicopters, with models with greater technical capability.

Don Miller, senior vice president and chief financial officer, Bristow, said: “These $200m USD equivalent financings provide additional support for Bristow’s partnership with the UK government as we continue our successful implementation of the UK SAR contract.”