RACQ LifeFlight Rescue has completed a medical fit-out of three former RAAF Challenger 604 jets, which will now join its fleet.
The Queensland aeromedical charity added that the aircraft, which can reach 1,050 kilometres an hour, were formerly tasked with transporting high-profile figures such as prime ministers and members of the royal family.
The business’ executive manager, Peter Elliott, said, “The Challenger 604 aircraft is the longest-range aeromedical jet available for immediate emergency deployment in Australia.
“The aircraft can go to the majority of airstrips and townships in Queensland and bring those people to the major centres such as Townsville, Cairns, Mackay and Brisbane.
“One of the new aircraft is replacing our Lear 45 jet, which has been based in Townsville for the past 10 years, while the other two are an addition to our fleet.”
After retirement from the RAAF, the jets were stored in the US, before LifeFlight collected them in February.
The organisation said the jet predominantly flew around Australia during their military service, but also had spells flying in the south Pacific, south-east Asia, Middle East and European regions.
Its fleet now consists of four Challenger 604s, two of which will be based in Brisbane and two in Townsville.
In April, Australian Aviation reported that the Queensland government agreed to a deal with the charity to transfer COVID-19 patients from regional areas to medical facilities.
LifeFlight adapted its Challenger 604 and Learjet 45 jets to specifically accommodate coronavirus patients.
Coordination Centre director Brian Guthrie said, “Standard operating procedures have been adopted, including doctors and nurses being required to wear protective masks, goggles, gloves and suits, as well as undertake appropriate decontamination measures, after they are in contact with suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients.”