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406 MHz Cospas-Sarsat Distress beacon developed by VSSC

Satellite Aided Search and Rescue

India is a member of the international COSPAS-SARSAT programme for providing distress alert and position location service through LEOSAR (Low Earth Orbit Search And Rescue) satellite system. Under this programme, India has established two Local User Terminals (LUTs), one at Lucknow and the other at Bangalore. The Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC), is located at ISTRAC, Bangalore.

INSAT-3A located at 93.5 deg East is equipped with 406 MHz Search and Rescue payload that picks up and relays alert signals originating from the distress beacons of maritime, aviation and land users. INSAT and GOES systems have become an integral part of the COSPAS-SARSAT system and they complement the LEOSAR system.

Indian LUTs provide coverage to a large part of Indian Ocean region rendering distress alert services to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. The operations of INMCC/LUT are funded by the participating agencies, namely, Coast Guard, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Director General of Shipping and Services.


INSAT GEOSAR Local User Terminal (GEO LUT) is established at ISTRAC, Bangalore and integrated with INMCC. The distress alert messages concerning the Indian service area, detected at INMCC are passed on to Indian Coast Guard and Rescue Coordination Centres at Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai. The search and rescue activities are carried out by Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force. INMCC is linked to the RCCs and other International MCCs through Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network (AFTN). The Indian LUTs and MCC provide service round the clock and maintain the database of all 406 MHz registered beacons equipped on Indian ships and aircraft.

Development of indigenous search and rescue beacons has been completed, and is now in qualification phase. Shortly it will be released to the Indian fishermen community.

Till date, there are about 400 registered user agencies (Maritime & Aviation) in India with more than 5200 radio beacons in use.

Migration from LEOSAR & GEOSAR to MEOSAR system has been under taken. Design of upcoming MEOSAR system is ready and will be implemented in 2 years.

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