French positioning systems specialist Orolia, best known by MJ readers for its McMurdo brand of EPIRBs, has announced that it has been awarded a critical contract by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for nationwide enhancements to its existing Search and Rescue (SAR) satellite technology.

The company will equip the UK MCA with a new MEOSAR-capable McMurdo mission control centre

The company will equip the UK MCA with a new MEOSAR-capable McMurdo mission control centre

Enhancements will enable the MCA to operate with the new Medium-altitude Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) satellites that are being deployed now. The contract includes one year of installation and training, followed by an additional three years of service and support. With this contract award, McMurdo claims to be the worldwide market leader in MEOSAR installations.

System design and development will be completed at Orolia’s world leading MEOSAR engineering centre at the Americas Headquarters facility in the Washington D.C. area, while local deployment and support for the MCA solution will be provided by the Portsmouth, UK office. The company will equip the MCA with a new MEOSAR-capable McMurdo mission control centre to serve as the central control system that collects distress signals and routes them to the appropriate rescue coordination centre. When fully operational, the upgraded MEOSAR system is expected to dramatically improve the speed and location accuracy for detecting emergency distress beacons.

The company will also install innovative Medium Earth Orbit Local User Terminals (MEOLUT) and upgrade LUTs, or ground stations, that operate on the GEOSAR and LEOSAR satellite constellations for comprehensive program support. The combination will enable the UK MCA to find individuals by their activated distress beacons using the most reliable system on the market today.

“This nationwide satellite system upgrade will provide unparalleled precision, timing and decision support data to UK search and rescue teams,” said Chris Loizou, Chief Business Development Officer of Orolia. “We are proud to support the UK MCA with world-leading technology developed through our forty-year history of innovation.”

“The Maritime and Coastguard Agency continually seek opportunities to further advance our search and rescue service delivery and reputation,” said Richard Parkes, Director of Maritime Operations. “McMurdo’s MEOSAR-enabled mission control centre and ground stations will provide the highest calibre technology and performance to support our SAR personnel, enabling us to provide persons in distress with better response operations to save even more lives.”

By Jake Frith