Skip to main content
Latest COVID-19 information for passengers


News thumb amsa

Cobham wins $640M Australian Maritime Safety Authority contract for airborne search and rescue

ADELAIDE, Australia – Cobham has secured the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) contract to provide an airborne search and rescue capability in Australia for 12 years from 2016, with aircraft modification and mobilisation activity to commence later this year.

AMSA utilises aircraft based in strategic locations across Australia to perform search and rescue tasks such as searching for missing people, locating activated distress beacons, providing communications support at an incident and dropping survival equipment to people in distress.

The contract, secured through open industry competition, has a value including estimated flying charges of AUD $640 million over 12 years. If three additional optional years are exercised by AMSA, the full value would exceed AUD $700 million.

Cobham will acquire, modify, commission and then operate and maintain four Bombardier Challenger CL-604 special mission jet aircraft to provide a search and rescue capability over land and at sea.

These aircraft will be specially modified to Australian requirements and fitted with new generation sensors, high-vision windows and air operable doors for aerial delivery of life saving equipment. Much of the modification work will be undertaken at Cobham’s facilities in Adelaide, South Australia.

The aircraft will be based in Cairns, Melbourne and Perth.

Peter Nottage, Sector President of Cobham Aviation Services said: “In a situation where time can be the difference between life and death, Cobham will provide world-leading safety and rescue capability to AMSA and Australia. Building on Cobham’s 30 years of experience in special mission operations around the world, including in Australia, the turnkey solution we will provide to AMSA represents an evolutionary improvement in range capability and speed to incident sites with longer loiter and search time over the search zone. “In addition, the Mission Management and Communications System offers technological advantages, including latest generation electronic sensor technology and broadband satellite communications with real time sharing of streamed video, audio and imagery between the aircraft and AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre, based in Canberra, Australia.”

Cobham will employ five-member air crews, including a Captain, First Officer, Visual Search Officer, Electronic Search Observer and Aircraft Mission Coordinator who will be on permanent standby to enable search and rescue tasking at any time of day or night.

About AMSA

Australia has a world-renowned search and rescue service that spans the nation and covers 52.8 million square kilometres of the Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans. The search and rescue service is provided by the Joint Aeronautical and Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC Australia), which is part of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.