Cobham launches first Challenger search and rescue aircraft for AMSA

UK-based manufacturing company Cobham has launched the new Bombardier Challenger CL-604 aircraft for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

The new technologically upgraded civil search-and-rescue aircraft, supplied by Canadian aerospace and transportation company Bombardier, is the first of the four specially-modified aircraft to be delivered by the company.

The Challenger CL-604 aircraft has started operating on the first day of the 12-year contract signed between Cobham and AMSA.

Using advanced search sensors, Bombardier Challenger CL-604 will be able to provide extended range and significantly longer presence in Australia's search and rescue region as well as offer advanced communications with AMSA's Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra.

According to Cobham Aviation Services chief executive Peter Nottage, the new flight will be able to improve airborne search-and-rescue tasks with faster response times.

Nottage said: “The technology on board this aircraft will enable AMSA's search and rescue officers to be virtual crew members for the first time ever, with eyes and ears at the scene as events unfold.

“This is a quantum leap for Australia's airborne search and rescue capability and will ultimately benefit people whose lives and safety are at risk on land or at sea.

“It is the culmination of a complex and challenging program of work and is a testament to the quality and skills of Cobham's people and the excellence of our suppliers and partners here in Australia and abroad. It underscores the capability and sophistication of Australian technology and workers.”

The first aircraft will be based in Cairns, in Queensland, Australia, while two will be based in Melbourne and Perth and the fourth one in Melbourne as a backup aircraft.

Image: Captain Alec Smithers in front of the Cairns-based Challenger search and rescue jet. Photo: courtesy of Cobham Aviation Services .