McMurdo launches emergency beacons with GPS, GLONASS, Galileo

September 7, 2016  - By

Emergency preparedness company McMurdo has launched a new family of Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) that will accelerate the search-and-rescue process by combining multiple frequencies — including GNSS — into a single EPIRB product.

The McMurdo SmartFind and Kannad SafePro EPIRBs are distress beacons that can support each of the four frequencies used in the search-and-rescue process: GNSS for location positioning, 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz for beacon transmission, and Automatic Identification System (AIS) for localized connectivity.

The multiple-frequency capability will ensure faster detection, superior positioning accuracy, greater signal reliability and, ultimately, accelerated rescue of people or vessels in distress, the company said.

Expanded satellite connectivity. McMurdo SmartFind and Kannad SafePro EPIRBs have a multiple GNSS satellite constellation receiver supporting Galileo (once the constellation is fully operational), GPS and GLONASS — from a single beacon. Advanced GNSS data processing results in faster detection of positioning coordinates and enhances the accuracy of the emergency location.

Most of today’s EPIRBs use 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz frequencies via satellite communication to provide location and positioning data to global search and rescue personnel who may be several hundred miles away.

The additional AIS channels on the new McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS and Kannad SafePro AIS EPIRBs will send position signal information to standard AIS electronic equipment on nearby vessels for complementary, local tracking and rescue capabilities. This global and local rescue capability will result in quicker signal detection and faster response times.

The McMurdo SmartFind and Kannad SafePro EPIRBs are part of McMurdo’s comprehensive search and rescue ecosystem. As the world’s provider of an end-to-end search and rescue ecosystem — including distress beacons, satellite ground stations, mission control and rescue coordination systems, and rescue response products — McMurdo builds, integrates and tests products as part of a live search and rescue system. This ensures greater cohesion between distress signal transmission and reception so that beacon owners can feel confident that their signals will get to search and rescue authorities quickly.

MEOSAR compatibility. The McMurdo SmartFind and Kannad SafePro EPIRBs are designed to be fully compatible with MEOSAR, the next generation of the Cospas-Sarsat international search-and-rescue satellite system that has helped to save over 40,000 lives since 1982. MEOSAR will increase the speed and accuracy of beacon signal detection and location with new MEOSAR ground network infrastructure and additional MEOSAR satellites.

When fully deployed, a MEOSAR-compatible beacon can be located with an accuracy of location within 100 meters (328 feet), 95 percent of the time — and within five minutes of distress signal activation, all without reliance on GNSS.

McMurdo manufactures approximately 50 percent of the world’s MEOSAR infrastructure and is also leading the design of additional MEOSAR-capable beacons under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program’s HELIOS project.

“McMurdo’s new EPIRB announcement is a major step towards achieving a unified search-and-rescue vision,” said Bruce Reid, CEO of the International Maritime Rescue Federation. “The convergence of products and systems whether AIS and 406 MHz or maritime domain awareness and search and rescue, respectively, will require a comprehensive understanding of the entire search and rescue ecosystem. I look forward to seeing more McMurdo solutions and innovations that will shape the search and rescue industry for years to come.”

The McMurdo SmartFind and Kannad SafePro distress beacons support beacon transmission, GNSS for location positioning, and AIS for localized connectivity.

The McMurdo SmartFind and Kannad SafePro distress beacons support beacon transmission, GNSS for location positioning, and AIS for localized connectivity.