Bringing service to life in UK defence
Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, in Cornwall, UK, is Europe's largest military helicopter unit. Serco has a crucial role, helping to maximise the time those helicopters are available for deployment.
We have two contracts at Culdrose. Under our multi-activity contract with the Fleet Air Arm of the Navy Command, our wide range of services includes supporting the Sea King helicopters used in search and rescue missions and providing jet pilots for training exercises. Our second contract is to provide a deep maintenance facility for Merlin helicopters on behalf of their manufacturer, AgustaWestland.
Serco began operating at Culdrose in 1996. Since then, our services have grown substantially. From 26 employees at the start, we now have more than 350 at the base. As one indication of the scale of our work, we deliver 10 million litres of fuel each year, ensuring the helicopters are ready to fly.
Our services are mission-critical, so we form a team with our customers, to ensure they get what they need. We then employ people with a real depth of knowledge and the service ethos to make this happen.
We encourage innovation to overcome our customers' issues. For example, Peter Morrissey, an aircraft welder on the Merlin support contract, invented a new way to repair Merlin exhausts when spare parts were in short supply. By preventing the need for slow and costly off-site repairs, Peter made sure the helicopters were available for the Royal Navy and saved more than £2.6m over four years.
The outcome of our approach is that helicopters spend more time on the frontline and we get excellent feedback from our customers. As well as receiving numerous awards and commendations, the Culdrose team scored an average of nine out of ten in a recent Ministry of Defence customer satisfaction survey.