Australia's Cobham Aviation Services has awarded a contract to Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, for its Seaspray 5000E active electronically scanned array (AESA) surveillance radars.
The radars will be used in Cobham's Challenger CL-604, search and rescue (SAR) aircraft, to help the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) with airborne SAR services.
AMSA will deploy Cobham's radars from August 2016, once the current contract expires.
Under the contract Cobham will be responsible for acquiring, modifying, commissioning and then operating and maintaining four Challenger CL-604 special mission jet aircraft, which will provide SAR capability over land and at sea from bases in Cairns, Melbourne and Perth.
Developed and manufactured at Selex ES's Edinburgh plant in Scotland, the radar was selected for its high reliability, compact size and ease of use as well as its AESA technology-enabled 'small target detection' capability.
The radar has already been delivered to a customer where it is being used on Challenger aircraft. It is also is in service with a third customer on the Sikorsky S-92 SAR helicopter.
It uses a combination of mechanical scanning of the antenna with electronic scanning of the radar beam to provide a cost-effective radar system and is suitable for a range of capabilities from long-range search to exceptional small target detection.
The lightweight Seaspray 5000E can be installed in both fixed-wing and rotary wing platforms and can be used in manned and unmanned operations.
Australia is responsible for about a tenth of the earth's surface including almost 53 million square km² of ocean.
AMSA uses aircraft for SAR 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.
Image: Seaspray 5000E Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) surveillance radar. Photo: courtesy of Selex ES S.p.A - A Finmeccanica Company.