Mayday, Mayday An SOS on a stormy morning

Imagine it is six o’clock in the morning on a dark, stormy day. The phone rings. Your coast guard office has picked up a distress call, an SOS signal from a ship on the international frequency, but the location of the ship is not known. It is your job to coordinate the situation and you need to act!

What do you do? You try to get more information about the ship’s location. The surface sensor unit has a complete overview of the shoreline and you speak to the operators there. All the ships showing on the radar picture have been identified, so you know the emergency must be going on somewhere beyond this. The distress call must be coming from a place beyond the horizon. 

Racing against time

The clock is ticking.  You don’t know what the situation is on board the ship, how many people are there. It could be sinking, the weather is severe and people could be in danger. Should you send a helicopter? But where to? You can’t send them out in the storm without a location to direct them towards. The wind is strong, it is cloudy and visibility is poor. Low level reconnaissance is not an option and you need to act now, lives could be lost out there. How do you act? 

Seeing beyond the horizon

You need to see more, look beyond the horizon, and to be able to cover vast areas quickly.  To do this, you need an ultra-long range radar and sensor suite, high up in the air, which gives you the wide coverage you need to detect, to identify and to issue the correct orders to the rescue operators.

You also need to command and control the situation, leading other assets that can do more, closer to the ship, to get actual eyes and hands on the situation. Do you have what it takes to solve this situation? 

Taking control of the situation

With GlobalEye, you could have an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft on the way within 15 minutes, quickly allowing you to scan thousands of square kilometres. The sensor suite will detect the sinking ship’s position. It picks up radio communication from the ship to establish what immediate help to send.  Now GlobalEye becomes the control centre, fully coordinating the Coast Guard’s helicopters and rescue vessels, sending them out straight away, leading them through the severe weather. If needed, GlobalEye stays up for more than 10 hours providing air and sea surveillance and simultaneous command and control from the air.

Thankfully, in this scenario the situation was solved with GlobalEye and its´ inherent swing role capability. Having an airborne suite of sensors linking information, in real time, between other sensors based on the ground, in the air and at sea to the decision makers, meant that  the people on board the ship could be saved.

Being able to respond quickly in emergency situations is crucial. Many countries have experienced terrible tragedies with ship accidents far out at sea, with rescue services struggling to against time, overall perspective and long distance communication and coordination. With GlobalEye, you get the benefit of a military solution that is also in place during peacetime, ready to act whenever a crisis or emergency occurs. 

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