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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Australia Looks to Bolster SAR with New Aircraft, Technology

Juliet Van Wagenen

AMAS AeroRescue Aircraft. Photo: Cobham
AMAS AeroRescue Aircraft. Photo: Cobham

[Avionics Today 01-28-2016] Search and Rescue (SAR) aircraft currently used by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (ASMA) are on their way to being replaced under a 12-year, $640 million service contract for new technology and aircraft that aims to bolster SAR capabilities in Australia. The new technology and aircraft aim to provide essential eyes in the sky for people in distress, with the replacement aircraft based in Perth, Cairns and Essendon.

"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," said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss. "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 land."

Cobham Aviation Services Australia has been awarded the contract to provide the aircraft and crew, as well as provide maintenance and equipment for the capability.

"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," Truss said.

The first of four Bombardier Challenger CL-604 jets has arrived in Adelaide, Australia and the planes will come into service progressively from August 2016.

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