Boeing has been awarded a contract to upgrade the US Air Force's (USAF) combat survivor evader locator (CSEL) radios and ultra-high frequency (UHF) base stations.
Under the terms of the $13.6m contract, the company will integrate the CSEL handheld radios and base stations with new capabilities, in an effort to enable the faster search and rescue of downed pilots or isolated personnel (IP) in the battlefield.
Boeing CSEL programme manager Steve Capps said the contract reaffirms the company's ability to deliver advanced, next-generation communications capabilities to military customers.
"CSEL provides the US military with the strategic advantage of an easy-to-use, multifunction radio that has already played a critical role in numerous successful rescues involving downed combat forces and pilots," Capps added.
Hanscom Air Force Base Joint Program Office for Personnel Recovery previous CSEL test engineer and air force lieutenant Matthew Renner said the radios are suited for search and rescue operations.
"These new capabilities can reduce rescue time and give isolated personnel another option to get home safely," Renner added.
Modernisation of the CSEL UHF base stations is expected to enable the CSEL network to remain in compliance with the latest Information Assurance standards that safeguards networks against any foreign intrusion.
Dubbed the US Department of Defense's (DoD) Program of Record for Joint Search and Rescue, the CSEL is a fully qualified, next-generation survival radio designed to support survival, evasion and personnel recovery missions in the battlefield.
The multifunction radio is capable of simplifying rescue operations by delivering accurate geo-positioning information and secure over-the-horizon and line-of-sight, two-way data communications capabilities to the joint personnel recovery centres (JPRC).
Boeing has delivered more than 54,400 CSEL radios to all three branches of the DoD to date, since the radios were authorised for use in theatre in 2005.
Image: US joint forces personnel using the combat survivor evader locator radio system. Photo courtesy of Boeing.