Heliguy wins place on £2.6m Network Rail drone framework contract

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Heliguy has been awarded a major nationwide drone framework contract with Network Rail as part of an Unmanned Aircraft Services framework worth up to £2.6m

The North East-based UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) has been specially selected to supply, maintain, repair and service Network Rail’s drones, as well as to deliver expert training to the infrastructure group’s in-house pilots.

Heliguy – which delivers unrivalled one-stop-shop enterprise drone support – came through a rigorous and thorough tendering process to secure the deal, beating a range of high-calibre candidates in the process.

The three-year drone framework contract, which can be extended to five years, will help Network Rail use drones to cover infrastructure inspections and maintenance checks along with its nationwide rail network.

Ruairi Hardman, Heliguy’s business development manager, said that the contract was a testament to the company’s established reputation in the drone industry, its expert team and assured enterprise UAV package of drone supply and support.

This includes the allocation of £1m of drone stock for the first phase of the recently launched Heliguy Full Stack – a new fully-managed drone programme for government bodies, industry and large businesses.

The Network Rail Unmanned Aircraft Services drone framework contract will focus on structures and bridge surveys, embankment checks, overhead line equipment inspections and post-incident condition examinations.

The contract is part of Network Rail’s commitment to embracing drones within its day-to-day business operations. This technology is proving to be a cost-effective solution, as well as helping to improve safety and enhance efficiency.

Network Rail has embarked on a five-year programme to spend £42bn making Britain’s railways more reliable.

Mr Hardman said: “We are extremely proud to have been awarded a national framework agreement with Network Rail for the provision of UAS/drone equipment, maintenance, servicing, repairs and training.

What will Heliguy offer Network Rail?

Heliguy is one of a number of companies to be awarded a contract on this national framework agreement with Network Rail.

As part of the agreement, a specially-tailored and automated maintenance system will be implemented for Network Rail, with a built-in mechanism for unplanned repairs and maintenance, with guaranteed 72-hours turnaround time and courtesy equipment where required. Loan aircraft and ancillary equipment will be provided during this period.

The Heliguy training team will ensure that pilot standard are upheld throughout the length of the drone framework contract and will deliver on-demand bespoke training to suit Network Rail’s specific requirements.

Network Rail’s drone programme

Network Rail has 24 drones – including a range of DJI aircraft – and intends to expand its fleet and the number of pilots year-on-year.

Network Rail is using drones to survey the railway for regular maintenance or following an incident.

Drones are a cost-effective solution for close-up inspections of difficult to access structures such as building roofs, bridges, communication masts and overhead wires.

Carrying out inspections by air means the railway can be kept open and people kept safe – trains can continue to run which improves performance and reliability, and as engineers aren’t being sent onto tracks, it also improves safety.

Using a drone-enabled the team to gather close-up footage in a much quicker timescale than the traditional use of helicopters and people power would allow, was much safer and proved to be less intrusive for the local community.

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