Cobham Aviation Services utilises highly-modified Challenger jets to provide a turn-key search-and-rescue capability to the Australian Safety Maritime Authority (AMSA).

AMSA is responsible for the provision of search-and-rescue capability across Australia’s search-and-rescue region which encompasses nearly 10 per cent of the earth’s surface. To meet this demand, Cobham designed, integrated, commissioned and now operates a fleet of Challenger jets that contain some of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology ever to be integrated onto a civil search and rescue platform.

The Challenger jet has a transit speed of up to 490 knots (equivalent to a commercial jet airliner), and with three bases across Australia covers a range in excess of 3,000 nautical miles (5,700km) and an endurance of 8+ hours. This speed, range and endurance combined means the Challenger can provide response capability to a very large geographic coverage area (as seen right).

Cobham fitted these jets with latest generation sensors, high-vision windows, and broadband satellite communications which allows real time sharing of streamed video, audio, and imagery between the aircraft and AMSA’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. This technology enables AMSA’s search and rescue officers to be virtual crew members with eyes and ears at the scene as events unfold.

The aircraft also holds a custom stores delivery system for aerial delivery of life-saving equipment and supplies. The stores containers can provide anything from satellite phones, radios, emergency locating beacons, rations, water, boat parts, survival equipment and more to people in need.

Under our 12-year contract with AMSA, Cobham’s number one priority is to minimise loss of life, injury, property damage or loss by delivering aid to persons in distress in maritime and land environments. Search-and-rescue tasks include searching for missing people, locating activated distress beacons, providing communications support at an incident and dropping survival equipment to people in distress.