Some of the current search and rescue (SAR) crew at RAF Boulmer will be moving across to the new service run by Bristow once the takeover is complete.
The first two bases for the new civilian SAR service go live on April 1, with the other eight over a period up to July 2017. The closest bases to north Northumberland will be Humberside (live April 1) and Glasgow Prestwick (live January 2016).
The Gazette understands that the service at RAF Boulmer will end on September 30 this year, but a spokesman would only confirm that the handover remains on target.
An RAF Search and Rescue media spokesman said: “Responsibility for the provision of search and rescue helicopter capability will be transferred from the current providers to Bristow Helicopters Ltd, as part of a UK-wide, phased transition process. The proposed handover date for RAF Boulmer remains on target.
“Some personnel currently serving with the RAF Search and Rescue Force will go on to different appointments as part of their normal military career progression.
“A further proportion of RAF SAR Force personnel will leave the service to move and work for Bristow Helicopters Ltd under a managed manpower transition programme, where their SAR skills can continue to contribute to the UK’s SAR helicopter capability. And some personnel will be retiring from the RAF or leaving at the end of their personal service engagement period to pursue other interests.”