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 Bengaluru. The Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC) is located at ISTRAC, Bengaluru. The system is operational from the past 23 years.
INSAT-3A, located at 93.5 deg East and INSAT-3D located at 82 deg East, are equipped with a 406 MHz Search and Rescue payload that picks up and relays alert signals originating from the distress beacons of maritime, aviation and land users.
Indian LUTs provide coverage to a large part of the 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 Directorate General of Shipping and Services.
INSAT GEOSAR Local User Terminal (GEO LUT) is established at ISTRAC, Bengaluru and integrated with INMCC. The distress alert messages concerning the Indian service area, detected at INMCC, are passed on to Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) of Indian Coast Guard (Mumbai, Chennai, Port Blair), and Rescue Coordination Centres (RCCs) of AAI (Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai). The search and rescue activities are carried out by Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force. INMCC is linked to the RCCs, MRCCs, SPOCs (Search and Rescue Points of Contact) and other International MCCs (Mission Control Centres) through Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network (AFTN). The Indian LUTs and MCC provide round the clock service and maintain the database of all 406 MHz registered beacons carried onboard Indian ships and aircraft.
Development of indigenous search and rescue beacons has been completed, and is now under qualification phase through international agencies.
During the year 2013, INMCC provided search and rescue support to 14 distress incidents in Indian service area through Indian system and contributed to saving 94 human lives.
During 2013, about 962 new radio beacons were added in Indian database (most of them for maritime applications). Till date, there are about 716 registered user agencies (Maritime & Aviation) in India with an Indian beacon population of more than 13,636 in our database.
INSAT-3D, the advanced metrological satellite located at 82 deg East longitude carries a Search and Rescue (SAR) Payload. The satellite was launched on July 26, 2013 and the in-orbit-testing of SAR payload was completed in Aug 2013. INSAT-3D will provide the continuity to SAR service.