AMSA is responsible for national maritime and aviation search and rescue across an internationally agreed search and rescue region covering approximately one tenth of the world’s surface.
A new contract was signed in October 2014 with Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd (Cobham) to provide the next generation aircraft dedicated to search and rescue from late 2016, for a period of 12 years. Cobham will acquire, modify, commission, operate and maintain four Bombardier Challenger CL-604 special mission jet aircraft to provide a search and rescue capability over land and sea. The aircraft will be available for search and rescue tasking at short notice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Bombardier Challenger 604 jets are being specifically modified to AMSA’s requirements and fitted with new generation sensors, high vision windows and air operable doors for aerial delivery of life saving equipment.
The first aircraft arrived in Australia in early January 2016. The majority of the equipment installation work will be undertaken at Cobham’s hangar at Adelaide Airport.
The transit speed of the Challenger is M0.74/445 Knots True Airspeed (KTAS) to M0.8/490 KTAS. This is equivalent to a commercial jet airliner speed.
The Challenger has an endurance of 8 hours in normal standby configuration.
A flight range of 3,086 nautical miles (5,715 kilometres) means the Challenger is well equipped at any of its base stations to respond to distress calls, as detailed in the map below.
Sentinent ViDAR maritime anomaly detection software with fixed staring three-camera array means that the Challenger has an improved capacity to conduct visual searches for small targets in the water, complementing the visual searching of the crew.
The Challenger has large observer windows forward of the wings which will assist in visual search operations.
An air operable door enables the Challenger to deliver life-sustaining stores and communications equipment to those in distress.