Search and rescue capabilities for Australia are being bolstered by a $640 million service contract over 12 years for new technology and aircraft. This investment will provide essential eyes in the sky for people in distress, with the replacement aircraft based in Perth, Cairns and Essendon.
Australia's search and rescue capabilities are being bolstered by a
$640 million service contract over 12 years for new technology and
aircraft. This investment will provide essential eyes in the sky
for people in distress, with the replacement aircraft based in
Perth, Cairns and Essendon.
Left to Right: Chief Pilot Tom Smallwood and Deputy Chief
Observer Adrian Pettifor.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and
Regional Development Warren Truss was in Adelaide today to inspect
the first of four Bombardier Challenger CL-604 jets which will
replace the Search and Rescue aircraft currently used by the
Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
"This capability is vital in Australia's search and rescue
response, especially because of the vast area we cover… about
one-tenth of the earth's surface," Mr Truss said.
"AMSA has used AeroRescue Dornier aircraft in hundreds of
rescues since they came online in 2005. The replacement aircraft
will use new technology and equipment to ensure there is a rapid
response capability to save people in distress in the water or on
Following a competitive tender process, Cobham Aviation Services
Australia was awarded the contract to provide the aircraft and
crew, as well as provide maintenance and equipment for the
"Three aircraft will provide strategic coverage at Perth, Cairns
and Essendon, with a fourth aircraft to be used by Cobham to
replace the operational aircraft during maintenance and for
training purposes," Mr Truss said.
"The aircraft, the equipment and the techniques used by the crew
will be put through their paces in rigorous testing ahead of the
planes coming into service progressively from August 2016.
"The first jet arrived in Adelaide in late December and is being
fitted for search and rescue purposes at Cobham's hangar, ahead of
drop trials and training. Modifications to the jets allow for vital
stores, including survival equipment and satellite phones, to be
available to people in need of rescue.
"This capability is often the first on the scene when people are
in distress at sea or on the land."
The aircraft will have a range of new technology on board,
including Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) technology to search at
night and anomaly detection sensors to complement work done by the
trained air observers. AMSA's Search and Rescue Coordination
Centre is headquartered in Canberra where its team of search and
rescue officers work around the clock to respond to incidents.
Mr Truss said the new technology will allow search and rescue
officers in Canberra to have the same view at a terminal in the
Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, as that of the Air Mission
Coordinator on board the aircraft.
"The aircraft will also be able to live stream video of the
situation in real time as they plan the rescue of those people," he
"Last year alone, AMSA coordinated 496 rescues, saving 223
"So this is an important investment in the safety of people on
vessels or in remote areas across Australia who find themselves in
trouble. The capability reflects our commitment to providing search
and rescue responses in line with our international obligations for
aeronautical and maritime search and rescue."
The first Challenger will come online in Perth in August 2016,
with replacements to Cairns and Essendon to follow later in the
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About Cobham Aviation Services
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The most important thing we build is trust.
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Manager Corporate Communications
Cobham Aviation Services
+61 (0)8 8154 7008