New search and rescue aircraft contract awarded

Friday 24 October 2014
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has awarded a new contract to continue its dedicated airborne search and rescue capability when the current contracts expire.
Media Release

Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd will begin providing a search and rescue service for AMSA from August 2016.

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

AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said following an open tender process, Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd had been chosen to provide this service.

“This contract will continue the search and rescue capability for AMSA utilising Bombardier Challenger CL-604 jet aircraft specially modified for this role. The future capability will use faster and longer range aircraft to provide a similar level of capability to our current service, but using fewer aircraft,” Mr Kinley said.

Mr Kinley said the aircraft that will be provided by Cobham SAR Services will be fitted with a suite of electronic sensors, and will also be drop capable to allow for equipment such as life rafts, satellite phones, food and water to be dropped to a person in distress.

The contract is for a period of 12 years with an option to continue for up to a further three years.

The contract value, including estimated flying charges, is expected to be $640 million over 12 years. Under this contract, Cobham will provide a comprehensive service to AMSA that includes owning, modifying, maintaining and operating the aircraft. The aircraft will be available for search and rescue tasking by AMSA at short notice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Cobham SAR Services will commence search and rescue operations for AMSA from August 2016 in Perth, while operations will commence by the end of 2016 from Cairns and Melbourne. The current contractor, AeroRescue Pty Ltd, will continue to provide the service until that time.

Cobham SAR Services currently operates aviation services throughout Australia and is an experienced provider of special mission services internationally and across Australia.

AMSA would like to take this opportunity to thank those companies who responded to the initial market engagement and subsequent tender for their invaluable input into the process.