The first of Australia’s new dedicated search and rescue (SAR) aircraft was officially accepted into service in Cairns on 16th December. It is the first of four specially modified Bombardier Challenger CL-604 jets to replace the tier one search and rescue aircraft used by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
The CL-604s will replace the fleet of five Dornier 328-120 turboprops currently provided by Darwin-based AeroRescue.
The first jet to be based in Cairns has been accepted into service with two additional aircraft to come online in Perth and Melbourne in the coming months. An additional ancillary operational aircraft will also be based in Melbourne.
Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd was awarded the contract to provide the aircraft and crew for a 12-year period in October 2014. The aircraft are being modified by Cobham to meet Australian requirements and fitted with latest-generation direction finder, radar, EO/IR and video anomaly sensors integrated into a mission management system, along with high-vision windows and air operable doors for aerial delivery of life saving equipment. The aircraft are equipped for live video streaming in real time.