Next Generation Search and Rescue Aircraft comes online in Perth

Media Release

dc039/2017

23 February 2017

One of Australia's new dedicated search and rescue aircraft has officially been accepted into service in Perth.

The Bombardier Challenger CL-604 jet will provide search and rescue services for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester said.

"Australia is responsible for search and rescue over one tenth of the earth's surface and these planes will help better service that area," Mr Chester said.

 "These new jets will use state of the art technology to ensure there is a rapid response capability to rescue people in distress on the water or over land."

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

This is the second jet to be accepted into service with the first coming online in Cairns in December. One additional aircraft is due to come online in Melbourne in the coming months, and an additional spare operational aircraft will follow.

Modifications to the jets have been made to allow emergency stores, including life rafts, survival equipment, and satellite phones, to be delivered to people in distress.

"These aircraft are often the first on the scene when people are in distress at sea and on the land," Mr Chester said.

"The aircraft will have a range of new technology on board including infra-red cameras to search at night and an anomaly detection system to complement the trained air observers on board the aircraft.

"AMSA's Search and Rescue Coordination Centre is headquartered in Canberra where a team of search and rescue officers work around the clock to coordinate response to incidents.

"The aircraft will also be able to live stream video they are seeing in real time to the search and rescue officers at AMSA, as they plan the rescue of those people.

"This is a significant investment in the safety of Australians and underpins the Australian Government's commitment to our international obligations for aeronautical and maritime search and rescue," Mr Chester said.