Magnificent medical machines
Meet the helicopters that sit at the heart of our service. Ably supported by our rapid-response vehicles, they deliver our world-class crew to those who need them.
Fast, agile and fitted out with state-of-the-art medical equipment, they enable our response teams to attend the site of an emergency as quickly as possible.
At the scene, they provide us with the means to deliver an advanced level of treatment and the ability to transfer patients to a hospital where they can be given the best available care for their condition.
The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) currently provided by Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex is comprised of three aircraft, two AW169 and one MD902. The MD902 is used if either of the AW169s are undergoing maintenance or servicing.
Leonardo AW169: G-KSST
In 2017, we proudly became one of the first air ambulance services to operate the new AW169 helicopter. The higher speed and enhanced fuel performance offered by the AW169 increases the distances we are able to cover and reduces the time it takes to get patients to hospital. Despite having similar external dimensions to the MD902 Explorer it superseded, the AW169 also has a significantly larger cabin, improving in-flight access to patients and allowing for more life-saving interventions to be carried out in the air. In harsh conditions, it also offers the potential for interventions to be carried out in the more hospitable surroundings of the aircraft interior.
MD902 Explorer: G-KSSA
Capable of travelling at average speeds of up to 150mph, the twin-engine MD902 Explorer operated by AAKSS remains one of the most advanced aircraft available for the demands of air ambulance work and providing a rapid response to serious medical traumas. This model of helicopter was one of the first to incorporate the unique NOTAR system, meaning it does not have a tail rotor and therefore benefits from increased safety, lower noise levels and better controllability. Together with the skills and experience of our pilots, the MD902 Explorer is called upon to land in some of the most challenging locations, day or night.
Rapid Response Cars
When circumstances prevent us from taking flight, our rapid-response vehicles mean we can still provide specialist life-saving care by road.
We currently have a fleet of four specially-equipped Volvo XC70 4x4s. They are predominantly used when our aircraft are unavailable, either because they are in need of essential maintenance or repair work, or if severe weather conditions mean they are simply unable to fly.
Based at both our Rochester and Redhill air bases, our vehicles are driven by trained paramedics and are fitted with blue lights and warning sirens to aid progress through traffic. Together, they have travelled nearly 400,000 miles in response to emergencies.
We were first able to take to provide support via the road thanks to a kind donation of two vehicles from Sussex Police. These were eventually replaced in 2012, and two further vehicles were added in 2015 to provide the flexibility for maintenance and driver training without the requirement for a break in service.
In September 2019, following a consultation period, we placed an order for two Volvo XC90 B5 (Diesel Hybrid) response vehicles to replace the two oldest cars in our fleet. After being converted to accommodate our equipment and finished with emergency response markings, they are expected to be operational before the end of the year.
At present, we carry 150kg of equipment and the additional carrying capacity of these new vehicles will enable us to plan for future development in this area.
Donate today and help us save lives
£7.50 per month could help to buy a bespoke kit bag used to transport life-saving equipment to the scene of an incident.
£50 could help to provide fuel for one of the six missions our crew get called to in a 24 hour period.