The Government of Canada has awarded a $39-million contract to Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corporation (MDA) to design, build and deliver 10 search and rescue repeaters for National Defence’s Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) system.
Deployed on a satellite, a repeater detects signals from distress beacons across the country and along Canada’s coastlines and relays them to a ground station. As part of an agreement between National Defence and the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the Canadian repeaters will be hosted on USAF’s next-generation GPS satellites.
The MEOSAR system is expected to deliver improved response times for search and rescue activities and increase accuracy to locate people, ships or planes in distress. It will replace Canada’s current search and rescue system, which has been in place for several decades. Alongside the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Armed Forces responds to more than 9,000 search and rescue calls annually, approximately 1,000 of which result in the launching of search and rescue air assets.
The contract will run until February 1, 2029. The government may extend the contract to August 1, 2034, if it elects to acquire an additional 12 repeaters. The contract was awarded following an open, fair and transparent competitive procurement process, which included a fairness monitor who observed the procurement process.
“Our Government is committed to providing the Canadian Armed Forces with cutting-edge technology for search and rescue operations to save those in distress in Canada. These repeaters will be designed and built with homegrown Canadian aerospace expertise, supporting our aerospace sector and stimulating economic growth in Quebec”, said Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.
“This project builds on the successful partnership between National Defence and MDA to develop innovative solutions that are vital to Canada’s sovereignty and security. Once qualified as operational, this system will dramatically improve both the speed and location accuracy for detecting beacons, and as a result, greatly enhance the coordination and dispatch of search and rescue teams to help people in distress”, said Mike Greenley, Group President of Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corporation.