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Vietnam Acquires Search-and-Rescue Solution Based on Thales Alenia Space Advanced Technology
March 23, 2023 News


Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), together with VIETTEL and MKE, has been selected by VINAMARINE to provide Vietnam with a MEOLUT Next ground station. This station will operate as part of the COSPAS-SARSAT global MEOSAR search-and-rescue (SAR) network.

The solution will make it possible to detect and locate distress signals from COSPAS-SARSAT beacons on land, in the air and at sea. This will occur instantaneously over a radius of 2,500 kilometres (km) centred around Hai Phong. It will mainly use the Galileo satellite positioning system.

Thales Alenia Space’s innovative MEOLUT Next product, which employs a phased array antennae, will give Vietnam unrivalled performance. Conventional MEOLUT systems rely on six large parabolic antennae, each covering an area about the size of a football field. These are capable of receiving signals from six satellites simultaneously (one per antenna). The MEOLUT Next solution, in contrast, has compact antennae taking up less than six square metres. As a result, it tracks up to 30 satellites, significantly enhancing distress beacon detection and expanding coverage. MEOLUT Next is, thus, capable of detecting and locating distress signals from more than 5,000 km away.

The solution is already operated by the main users of COSPAS-SARSAT (USA, Canada, France, the European Union, and Togo).

It is helping to save lives, as recently demonstrated in the Indian Ocean. On the 18th of November 2022, a MEOLUT Next antenna picked up a distress signal from the Asteria, a yacht skippered by Tapio Lehtinen competing in the Golden Globe race. The signal came 2,000 km southwest of La Réunion, well outside the range of VHF radio and other communications systems. The Asteria was sinking fast. But within only four minutes, MEOLUT Next had pinpointed the boat’s location to guide rescue crews to the scene.

“This is the second contract to deploy our MEOLUT Next solution in Asia, following the one recently awarded in Thailand, a testament to the operational performance of this technology in ensuring the safety of people and property,” said Benoit Broudy, Executive Vice President, Navigation, at Thales Alenia Space. “Saving lives is something that ties in with our company’s aspirations, as demonstrated by our contribution to COSPAS-SARSAT search-and-rescue services.”

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