Boeing to upgrade USAF survivor locators

Boeing will upgrade U.S. Air Force Combat Survivor Evader Locator (CSEL) handheld radios with new capabilities to enable faster search and rescue of isolated personnel, and also upgrade the CSEL ultrahigh frequency (UHF) base stations, under contracts valued at $13.6 million.

Developed in the 1990s, the CSEL combines a secure communications system with GPS capabilities. The CSEL uses a variety of communications channels, including line-of-sight or over-the-horizon radio, and multi-satellite data links.

When the 38 ounce (1.07 kg) radio is activated, it automatically takes a GPS fix and transmits its location over an encrypted channel by the CSEL network back to the rescue centre. With this communications link, the pilot and rescuers can develop a complete picture of the pilot’s physical condition, enemy location and rescue plans that will help in a quick extraction. The radio itself is built to be extremely rugged, shock and water resistant, with an extended battery life and a modular construction that allows it to interface with ground equipment.

“These new contracts confirm that Boeing is meeting our commitments to provide our military customers with world-class, next-generation communications capabilities,” said Boeing CSEL programme manager Steve Capps. “CSEL provides the U.S. military with the strategic advantage of an easy-to-use, multifunction radio that has already played a critical role in numerous successful rescues involving downed combat forces and pilots.”

Upgrading the CSEL UHF base stations will bring the CSEL network up to the latest Information Assurance standards that protect networks from outside intrusion.

“There’s never been anything like CSEL for search and rescue,” said Air Force Lt. Matthew Renner, previously a CSEL test engineer with the Joint Programme Office for Personnel Recovery at Hanscom Air Force Base. “These new capabilities can reduce rescue time and give isolated personnel another option to get home safely. The pilots we’ve worked with are really excited about it.”

More than 54,400 CSEL radios have been delivered to the U.S. military to date.

Posted in Communications, Contracts, News, Security, Surveillance

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