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Cospas Sarsat Testing

International alert and location system

What is Cospas-Sarsat?

The Cospas-Sarsat Programme is the international alert and location system, which uses a network of satellites to detect and locate beacon signals activated by persons, aircraft or vessels in distress.

Cospas-Sarsat is currently deploying its new MEOSAR (Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue System) programme. This will greatly improve the existing search and rescue (SAR) process by delivering global coverage, near-instantaneous distress beacon detection and a unique Return Link Service (RLS) feature that acknowledges distress signal receipt.

Alongside this, Cospas-Sarsat member nations have instigated the development of second-generation search and rescue distress beacons for aviation, maritime and outdoor search and rescue. These new beacons will be required to be fully compatible with both MEOSAR and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), and will provide additional rescue functions and increased accuracy.

Why is Cospas-Sarsat testing important?

In the highly competitive marine equipment market, a significant-step change in product development is required to meet the complex compliance requirements of the latest Cospas-Sarsat test standards. Consequently, manufacturers developing second-generation beacons and their antennas are under increasing pressure.

The nature of these devices demands that they comply with some strenuous approval standards before they can be put into use. Manufacturers must therefore prove that products have the build quality to remain operational, even in the most extreme conditions, without electromagnetic disturbances interfering with functionality. In addition, devices usually need to be certified for compliance with local legislation before being deployed. All of this must be achieved in a short timescale to ensure that demanding time to market deadlines are achieved.

Why choose TÜV SÜD for Cospas-Sarsat testing?

TÜV SÜD is one of only five approved laboratories in the world that is authorised to perform search and rescue beacon testing on behalf of Cospas-Sarsat. Our certification specialist, TÜV SÜD BABT, is a Notified Body under the Marine Equipment Directive, enabling us to deliver a one-stop service for all testing and certification. This can all be provided from a single location and with a dedicated project manager as your single point of contact - helping you to achieve faster market access for your compliant products.

TÜV SÜD’s services

TÜV SÜD is UKAS accredited to perform type approval on equipment operating at 406 MHz, 243 MHz and 121.5 MHz. We are authorised to undertake a range of C/S distress beacon T.007 & T.021 standard testing, on such products as: 

  • Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) - used in aircraft to indicate the location and the identity of an aircraft in distress.
  • An Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon (EPIRB) – used by the maritime sector to indicate the location and the identity of a distressed vessel.
  • A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) – which are designed to be carried by an individual.

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