COAST GUARD C4ISR SYSTEMS
MAJOR C4ISR SYSTEMS
BRIEFING: Rescue 21 is the Coast
Guard’s advanced command, control and
communications system, engineered to
better locate mariners in distress and save
lives and property at sea. By harnessing
state-of-the-market communications technology, Rescue 21 enables the Coast
Guard to execute its missions with greater
agility and efficiency.
The Rescue 21 Very High Frequency
(VHF) Frequency Modulated (FM) communications system is replacing the legacy National Distress Response System
deployed in the 1970s. One of the most
significant improvements is Rescue 21’s
ability to accurately identify the position
of a caller in distress, thereby reducing
search times. This is achieved through
lines of bearing to the source of the VHF
According to statistics supplied by the
National Search and Rescue School, a
training facility run by the Coast Guard,
roughly 95 percent of all search-and-rescue
cases take place within 20 nautical miles
offshore. The Rescue 21 system is designed
to capture distress radio transmissions to a minimum of 20 nautical miles offshore. Rescue 21 capabilities supported more than
70,000 search-and-rescue cases by the end of 2014, and with the
infrastructure currently in place it averages 1,000 cases per month.
Rescue 21’s improved communications capabilities upgrade
playback and recording features and improve the clarity of distress calls — for repeated listening in cases of distorted, rushed,
and/or distressed transmissions. The system supports Digital
Selective Calling (DSC), which allows vessel operators in distress to transmit their Global Positioning System position to
Coast Guard stations and nearby DSC-equipped vessels.
Rescue 21 can help restore critical communications following a disaster through the use of portable antenna towers. The
system’s direction-finding and geographic display capabilities
also help to identify and locate hoax callers, conserving valuable
search-and-rescue response resources.
The system’s expanded frequency capacity enables greater
coordination and communication among all Coast Guard mission
areas and with the Department of Homeland Security, as well as
other federal, state and local agencies and first responders. Project
activities are coordinated with others to share the facility and
tower infrastructure with other Coast Guard command-and-control projects, such as the Interagency Operations Center and
the Nationwide Automatic Identification System project, to improve the nation’s maritime safety and security.
The system is being installed in stages. In 2013, the Coast
Guard completed deployment of Rescue 21 to cover 41,871 miles
of coastline along the entire Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts of the
continental United States, as well as along the shores of the Great
Lakes, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and the
Northern Mariana Islands. With more than 250 communication
towers, this portion of the system design and support is being
accomplished by General Dynamics C4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Coast Guard is in the process of designing and imple-
menting targeted solutions for Alaska and along the western
rivers. Because of Alaska’s vast area and limited connectivity in
remote locations, the Coast Guard is deploying a modified
Rescue 21 system tailored to factors such as population density,
marine traffic, supportability, durability, accessibility, weather
and terrain. At sites along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, the
Coast Guard is recapitalizing current communications systems
but will not provide direction-finding capabilities.
SEASPRAY 7500E MULTIMODE RADAR
BRIEFING: The 7500E multimode X-band radar has replaced
the APS- 137 as the primary surveillance sensor of the HC-130H
Hercules. It uses active electronic scanned array technology to
perform maritime surveillance, detecting, tracking and classifying of maritime traffic in support of all Coast Guard roles and
missions, detect and map spills of national significance, and
support all-weather global operations. It fuses Automatic
Identification System-reported targets with SELEX radar targets
for improved maritime domain awareness.
CON TRACTOR: ...........SELEX Corp.
APS-143C OCEAN EYE RADAR
BRIEFING: The APS-143B/C is a multimode X-band radar with
a 360-degree scan used for maritime target detection, tracking
and classification in support of all Coast Guard roles and missions. It is an internationally employed search-and-rescue radar
optimized for small-target detection, tracking and classification.
Its light weight makes it suitable for medium-range aircraft such
as the HC-144A Ocean Sentry.
CON TRACTOR: ........... Telephonics Corp.
A watchstander at U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., mans the command center that includes the integrated command, control and communications
systems central to Rescue 21.