Churning Them Out

Officials with the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass., last fall delivered the 20,000th combat survivor evader locator radio system in use by operators across the Department of Defense and are now on track to deliver an additional 20,000 units. First fielded in 2003, these handheld units, built by Boeing, are designed to facilitate the quick precision location and recovery of downed airmen or isolated ground personnel via four principal features: an over-the-horizon satellite radio, a line-of-sight radio, GPS system, and search and rescue personnel locator beacon. “It’s basically DOD’s global 911,” said Maj. Charles Leonard of Hanscom’s CSEL joint program office. He continued, “We’ve taken the process of locating and positively identifying individuals from hours down to minutes” with CSEL. Already the radios have been in use in Afghanistan and Iraq for several years and are credited with saving many lives. (Hanscom report by Chuck Paone)