U.K. coastguard chooses satellite communications system

The United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency chose Iridium satellite phones and Applied Satellite Technology airtime services for the communication needs of its newly formed firefighter teams tasked with responding to fires aboard ships located in U.K. coastal waters. The teams were formed in April and consist of approximately 700 firefighters at 15 stations located along the coasts of England and Scotland.

Texas city to test satellite for emergency communications

League City, Texas, will test Eagle’s SatMAX satellite communications technology to determine whether it will improve the city’s emergency response program. The technology provides indoor and outdoor communications using the Iridium-based satellite communications system, according to the company. The hope is that during a series of upcoming emergency response exercises mandated by the state of Texas, the system will wirelessly transmit voice and data communications from any indoor or outdoor location and prove to be an effective system during an emergency.

RFID tracks inventory at Air Force hospital

Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, installed Mobile Aspects’ iRISupply, a computerized inventory system that uses RFID to automatically track medical devices and supplies for the U.S. Air Force’s 759th Surgical Operations Squadron. It will be deployed in the cardiac catheterization and electro-physiology laboratories and will provide automated storage, tracking and inventory management capabilities, according to Mobile Aspects.

Partnership focuses on next-gen RFID

Maritime Logistics Innovation Center and the Georgia Electronic Design Center announced a partnership focused on next-generation RFID technologies. The centers’ engineering teams will focus on maximizing the performance of RFID tags by using optimized matching networks, directivity/gain enhancement, printable thin-film batteries, advanced sensors for temperature, pressure and humidity and single- and dual-polarized antennas. Then project will leverage a working test-bed provided by Savi Networks, which earlier this year deployed a service for reading and transmitting data from RFID-tagged containers to an open technology software platform at terminal facilities at Georgia ports.

Raytheon rakes in million-dollar contracts

Raytheon has been awarded a five-year, $75 million contract for ongoing mission support for 300 satellite communications systems installed throughout the U.S. Navy fleet. The company will be responsible for upgrading terminals and keeping them in service throughout their life. It also will be responsible for below-deck electronics and above-deck antennas.

In other news, the company won an initial $38 million contract from the Global Positioning Systems Center to design next-generation global positioning receivers, which will employ the M-code military signal and work with legacy systems.

Public safety department buys Project 25 radios

EF Johnson, an EFJ subsidiary, received an order for approximately $500,000 from the Louisiana Department of Public Safety for its interoperable Project 25 portable radios and accessories for use in the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office, to let officers communicate on Louisiana’s statewide system. The department’s requirement was that the radios had to interoperate on the existing 800 MHz SmartZone system and 700 MHz Project 25 trunking system, according to the company.

Ad-hoc network research project awarded

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency chose BAE Systems to develop a next-generation, wireless tactical network protocol for the U.S. military. The contract calls for the company to research, design, develop and evaluate a new protocol stack for networks of autonomous mobile communication devices, known as ad-hoc networks. In these networks, each node operates as an end-system and as a router capable of forwarding traffic and forming a network without a fixed infrastructure. The contract includes a base award of $7.78 million over 18 months with a potential of growing to $13.3 million over 30 months, according to BAE.

London’s underground rail evaluates wireless system

Canada-based Anvil Technologies and U.K.-based Primetech recently demonstrated its RECoN wireless communications product in the Aldwych tube station, part of London’s underground rail line. The system was deployed and within 10 minutes transmitted VoIP, live video and data from the station’s platform level six stories below ground to the surface using satellite over the Internet. According to the companies, an interoperable communication system also was demonstrated so first responders could use disparate radio systems, regular or mobile phones to communicate above and below ground.