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 replaces the legacy
National Distress Response System
deployed in the 1970s. One of the most
significant improvements is Rescue 21’s
ability to provide an approximate position of a caller in distress, thereby greatly reducing search times. This is
achieved through lines of bearing to the
source of the VHF radio transmission.
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 86,000 search-and-rescue cases by the
end of 2015, 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 operators of properly registered vessels 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. The Coast Guard activated the final tower of the coastal phase of Rescue 21 Feb. 3,
2015, near the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina. Rescue 21
covers 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 implementing solutions for
Alaska and along the western rivers targeted to address the
unique logistical and operational needs of those regions. 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. Likewise,
the Coast Guard is completing recapitalization of current communication systems at sites along the Mississippi and Ohio River
Valleys to meet the unique needs of these busy inland waterways.
These modified systems, which will not include direction-finding
capabilities due to geographic and operational constraints, are
scheduled for completion by 2017.
SEASPRAY 7500E MULTIMODE RADAR
BRIEFING: The 7500E multimode X-band radar is 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.
CONTRAC TOR: ...........SELEX Corp.
Coast Guard personnel review a distress call on the Rescue 21 display at
Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads, Va.