Heliguy will supply, maintain, repair and service NR’s drones, and will deliver Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) accredited drone-pilot training for NR’s operators.

The three-year UAS framework contract, which includes an optional two-year extension, will focus on structures and bridge surveys, embankment checks, catenary equipment inspections and post-incident condition examinations.

Heliguy, a gold partner with Chinese drone manufacture DJI, is one of a number of companies to be awarded a contract under the national framework agreement.

Network Rail already uses drones for a number a different tasks, including to survey the cliff face at Teignmouth.

As part of the agreement, Heliguy will implement an automated maintenance system with a built-in mechanism for unplanned repairs and maintenance, with a guaranteed 72-hour turnaround time and courtesy equipment when required. Loan aircraft and ancillary equipment will be provided during this period.

NR currently has 24 drones, including a range of DJI aircraft, and intends to expand its fleet and the number of pilots.

For a review of how Norway is automating its drone programme, see the July issue of IRJ.