ADM(IM) Implementing the New Space Segment Contract

A CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 417 Combat Support Squadron lands at Smithers Airport after local training while on Operation LENTUS 18-05 in Smithers, British Columbia on September 2, 2018. Photo: Sergeant Andrew Davis, 19 Wing Comox CX03-2018-0390-115 ~ Un hélicoptère CH-146 Griffon du 417e Escadron de soutien au combat atterrit à l’aéroport de Smithers après avoir participé à une instruction locale au cours de l’opération LENTUS 18-05, à Smithers, en Colombie Britannique, le 2 septembre 2018. Photo : Sergent Andrew Davis, 19e Escadre Comox CX03-2018-0390-115

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On 10 May 2019, Minister Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced a contract award on behalf of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and Department of National Defence (DND). The contract, totalling $38.9 million (CAD), was awarded to Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA)’s primary office in Montreal, Quebec.

The Space Segment contract includes the design, manufacturing, and delivery of Search and Rescue (SAR) repeaters for DND’s Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) project.

The Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management) (ADM(IM)) is leading and implementing the MEOSAR project, with Director General Space (DG Space) as the project sponsor. This is an exciting opportunity for DND/CAF as we look forward to working with MDA to create the necessary tools to keep Canadians safe for many years to come.

As part of an agreement between DND and the United States Air Force (USAF), these Canadian-made repeaters will be hosted on USAF’s next-generation Global Positioning System satellites. These new repeaters will detect distress signals faster and more accurately than the current system.

Deployed on satellites, the SAR repeaters detect signals from distress beacons on land and sea from anywhere in the world and relay them to specialized ground stations. Emergency beacons are carried on naval vessels, aircraft, and by individuals who carry emergency personal locator beacons. In an emergency, these beacons are activated manually or automatically, and start transmitting a signal to the satellites approximately every 50 seconds.

Canada is one of the four founding members, along with the United States, France and Russia, of the International Satellite System for Search and Rescue program named COSPAS-SARSAT. Since its inception in 1982, the COSPAS-SARSAT program has saved more than 43,000 lives.

There are currently 42 countries and organizations that are part of the COSPAS-SARSAT program and Canada is committed to meeting its obligations to the program, while aiming to improve the CAF’s ability to undertake SAR missions into the future.

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