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

Heliguy, the UK’s largest drone provider, has been awarded a major nationwide contract with Network Rail, as part of an Unmanned Aircraft Services framework worth up to £2.6million.

The North East-based UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) specialist 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.

Network Rail has found that drones are a cost-effective solution for close-up inspections of difficult to access structures such as roofs, bridges, communication masts and overhead wires.

Award-winning 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 contract, which can be extended to five years, will help Network Rail use drones to cover infrastructure inspections and maintenance checks along its nationwide rail network.

A Network Rail drone operator. Image courtesy of Network Rail

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 programme, which includes our recently-launched Full Stack service.

“This contract award with Network Rail is the largest of its type in the UK and as such is a testament to our ability to deliver such projects at this level. The whole team at Heliguy is delighted to work with Network Rail’s UAS Programme,” – Ruairi Hardman, Heliguy’s Business Development Manager.

Heliguy is delighted to add Network Rail to its esteemed list of enterprise clients, which includes Balfour Beatty, Costain Skanska, National Grid and Sellafield Sites, among others.

Heliguy is one of DJI’s largest and trusted European enterprise channel partners and is recognised by the Chinese drone manufacturer as a Gold Partner, certifying that we can provide expert knowledge and services to interested enterprise customers. We are also the only DJI enterprise supplier on the Network Rail framework contract.

The hard work of our partner Heliguy has paid off thanks to their professionalism and the reliability of the offer proposed in terms of hardware and software powered by DJI technologies and serviced by Heliguy.



Sunny Liao, Director of Enterprise at DJI

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

Using a drone to inspect a landslip by the side of the railway at Lowca, in Cumbria. Image courtesy of Network Rail

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 £42billion making Britain’s railways more reliable.

What Will Heliguy Offer?

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

Heliguy is uniquely placed and ideally equipped to cater for Network Rail’s requirements, which includes the provision of a comprehensive and fully-managed drone service.

Heliguy will provide a bespoke and dynamic service tailored to Network Rail’s specific needs.

Heliguy is the UK’s leading supplier of DJI enterprise drones, which includes the M200 Series V2 and the next-gen mapping drone, the Phantom 4 RTK. We were recently honoured with a Top 10 Partner of the Year (Europe) award from DJI Enterprise.

DJI praised Heliguy for winning the contract. Sunny Liao, Director of Enterprise at DJI, said: “This contract award with Network Rail is the largest of its type in the UK, and this win is a great signal for DJI, its partner Heliguy in the UK and the enterprise drone industry across Europe.

“The hard work of our partner Heliguy has paid off thanks to their professionalism and the reliability of the offer proposed in terms of hardware and software powered by DJI technologies and serviced by Heliguy.”

Heliguy is also partnered with other leading names in the UAV industry and is able to help clients expand their fleets with solutions such as Elistair’s drone tethers.

The Heliguy training team will ensure that the standard of Network’s Rail’s pilots are upheld throughout the length of the contract.

Heliguy prides itself on its dedicated gold standard and comprehensive support service for UK enterprise drone programmes and will provide a bespoke and dynamic service tailored to Network Rail’s specific needs.

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.

Heliguy has the UK’s largest rental fleet and has a robust, efficient and cost-effective spares stocking and supply service for Network Rail’s newly-owned, leased and existing fleet of drones. The company’s experienced technical support facility will assist Network Rail.

All UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) role and ancillary equipment can be purchased or leased directly from Heliguy with next-day delivery.

In terms of training, Heliguy is a qualified NQE and its specialist team will deliver CAA (Civil Aviation Authority)-accredited drone-pilot training for Network Rail’s pilots.

Ben Shirley, part of Heliguy’s training team, leads an Emergency Services Drone Operators Training course.

Our industry-leading educational package of support equips candidates with both theoretical and practical skills required to fly a drone commercially and prepares them for their flight tests.

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

Heliguy has a track record of delivering expert training courses. The team currently runs PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) sessions at various venues around the UK.

Heliguy Is ‘Extremely Proud’ To Be Awarded Contract

Landing the Network Rail contract is a massive coup for Heliguy.

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.

Heliguy’s Ruairi Hardman with the Top 10 Partner of the Year (Europe) award from DJI Enterprise.

“This contract award with Network Rail is the largest of its type in the UK and as such is a testament to our ability to deliver such projects at this level. The whole team at Heliguy is delighted to work with Network Rail’s UAS Programme.

“Heliguy offers a comprehensive enterprise drone-supply programme and assures the supply of industry-leading drone equipment, training and support services to the UK’s largest infrastructure companies such as Network Rail, Balfour Beatty, National Grid, Costain Skansa and Sellafield Sites.”

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.

Network Rail used a drone to survey the cliff face at Teignmouth, in Devon, where the railway runs directly underneath. Image courtesy of Network Rail

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

Carrying high-tech equipment, the drones gather data, videos and images of railway infrastructure so Network Rail can better understand what the problem is and what repairs are needed.

A drone was used to inspect the railway and surrounds at Glenfinnan, in Scotland. Image courtesy of Network Rail

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.

In one example, and as part of a project to improve resilience of the railway between Exeter and Newton Abbot, Network Rail used a drone to survey the cliff face at Teignmouth, where the railway runs directly underneath. The drone was launched and piloted from a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), bobbing along the coastline.

Launching a drone from a boat. Image courtesy of Network Rail

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.

To find out how Heliguy can help support or kick start your enterprise drone programme, give us a call or send us an email.

Comments are closed here.