Australia and Nova Systems are part of the team in line for a global award in the United States for building unique capability for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon aircraft in sea rescues. New, highly effective UNI-PAC III water-activated containers developed by the team led by US-based Life Support International were supplied to the RAAF in August this year. The containers can be dropped from the P-8A Poseidon weapons bay at various airspeeds and altitudes. When the semi-rigid aerial delivery containers land in water the impact activates a 20-person life raft equipped with survival aids to keep people alive for days on rough seas. The Search and Rescue (SAR) System also has been delivered to the United States Navy.

“This four-plus year program has delivered unparalleled capability for the P-8A Poseidon, now being used by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Australian Defence Force as they patrol a region spanning about 10 per cent of the globe,” said QinetiQ Australia Managing Director Greg Barsby.

This important collaborative project to develop the UNI-PAC III has been nominated for the prestigious SAFE 2021 Team Achievement Award at the 59th Annual SAFE Symposium in Mobile, Alabama. The awards presentation ceremony will be held on Tuesday, 2 November 2021.

Barsby said the team worked hard to overcome challenges to delivery including wildfires and earthquakes in California that halted critical environmental testing for months, and a hurricane in Florida that stopped production of life rafts for several weeks. “There was also the unlikely scenario of a truck carrying assets needed to support an Australian test program crashing into a swamp in Illinois and the impact of COVID-19 on system integration, delivery, inspection and shipping,” Barsby said.

US-based Life Support International worked with the Royal Australian Air Force, US Navy, Boeing, and a remarkable team of subcontractors and suppliers to develop the airdrop SAR system for the P-8 Poseidon. The management of SAR kit acquisition was transitioned to Team Nova under the Major Service Provider contract when the responsibility for the P-8A Poseidon was transferred to Surveillance and Response.

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