A US-based company is to take over Britain's helicopter search and rescue operations, it has been reported.
The Government has awarded the contract to run the service to the Bristow Group, which has its headquarters in Texas, Sky News reported.
The broadcaster said an announcement - ending 70 years of search and rescue operations by the RAF and Royal Navy - would be made before the stock market opens.
The contract - which runs from 2015 to 2026 - is reported to be worth in the region of £3 billion.
Bristow is said to be planning replace the ageing RAF and Navy Sea King helicopters with faster, more efficient Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland 189s.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are due to make an announcement soon."