Back in February 2016, Ferranti Technologies introduced their Emergency Personal Locator Beacon (EPLB) and since then have been working towards various product trials.

The Ferranti Engineering team recently undertook joint sea trials with the MOD to assess the performance of the EPLB system when operated in its intended sea survival environment.

Setting sail from Plymouth Harbour, the team undertook a number of tests over 2 days using the EPLB and emulating the survival of aircrew having ejected or abandoned their aircraft over sea.

Testing involved both fast jet and rotary pilots being dropped into the sea with the EPLB system fitted to their Life Support Jacket. The test subjects then performed various serials with the EPLB activated including periods of free flotation as well as transmission tests with the participant having climbed into various life rafts.

The EPLB successfully transmitted to the COSPAS-SARSAT International Search and Rescue satellite network during the trial and the next couple of months will see additional trials undertaken as the team push to bring the EPLB into service. These will include human factors assessment, maintenance assessments, aircraft integration, homing signal trials and land survival trials.

The Ferranti Team were hosted by the MOD’s Defence, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Extraction (SERE) Training Organisation (DSTO), based at RAF St Mawgan which is a Tri-Service organisation formed by the co-location of the Royal Navy and RAF survival schools and the Resistance Training Wing.