Rugged Solutions High in the Sky

24 Mar 2020

AMSA Challenger 604 – The next generation in search & rescue aircraft.

Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd (Cobham) entered into a new contract with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to provide and operate the next generation of dedicated fixed wing aircraft to meet Australia’s search and rescue responsibilities. Under the 12 year contract Cobham has acquired and modified four Challenger 604 jet aircraft to provide a search and rescue capability over land and sea. Based on past successful collaborations, Cobham selected APC Technology as a partner in the project to assist in the design development and manufacture of elements of the all-important mission management system.

The new aircraft significantly enhance airborne search-and-rescue tasks with faster response times, extended range and considerably longer presence on scene in Australia’s search and rescue region using the latest generation search sensors and providing much-advanced communications with AMSA’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra.

Key features

The Challenger 604 aircraft is faster than the previous aircraft with greater range and endurance. The aircraft has been fitted with latest generation sensors, high-vision windows and a SAR stores delivery system for aerial delivery of life saving equipment.

The aircraft’s mission management and communications system is state-of-the-art with broadband satellite communications allowing real time sharing of streamed video, audio and imagery between the individual aircraft and AMSA’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre from anywhere within Australia’s search and rescue zone and beyond.

Cobham’s Mission Systems Manager John Head explained the choice of APC Technology as a key partner for the new AMSA Challenger aircraft fleet. “We already had an established relationship with APC Technology from previous projects and value their flexible and innovative approach to system design. We have also seen them develop their engineering and manufacturing capabilities which have created a number of benefits during the project cycle. For example, APC technology has invested in the key new technology of 3D printing. This service has allowed us to rapidly see and feel prototypes providing the opportunity to make redesign decisions more efficiently. We have also had a number of components 3D printed which we then physically put into the aircraft during the build process to make sure that the fit and location of components met the needs of the end customer.”

Scott Begbie, Managing Director of APC Technology further commented, “We have over 30 years’ experience of supplying custom built, defence –ready equipment. Customers like Cobham expect high performing, long lasting, cost effective solutions and we have the depth of knowledge plus innovative technologies all in one location to meet their needs and those of other companies who demand the best.”

The contract completed for Cobham by APC Technology included the design and build of panel PCs, HD displays, ethernet switches and routers, and enclosures for video & audio processors. Additionally the mission management system which is one of the critical features of the aircraft has been supplied through a partnership with APC Technology and Acacia Research, an Adelaide based software company, specialising in the development of advanced surveillance systems and high fidelity simulation.