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Personnel Emergency Locator System

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made towards the delivery of the 406 MHz Personnel Emergency Locator System; what trials are planned for this system; and if he will make a statement. (90242)

The Personnel Emergency Locator System programme is in its assessment phase. Work to define the user requirement is in the final stages and a broad supplier base has been identified. Initial trials will be undertaken with selected suppliers to assess the level of compliance of their product with the Ministry of Defence requirement. These are expected to take place during the latter part of next year. Further trials with a preferred bidder will aim to demonstrate satisfactory performance of the chosen equipment in realistic environments and full operation of the system, from emergency alert to recovery of the aircrew.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has (a) sought and (b) received from RAF aircrew on the incorporation of voice capability in the 406 MHz Personnel Emergency Locator System. (90243)

The 406MHz Personal Emergency Locator System will be used to assist in location of UK aircrew during peacetime (but not in hostile environments) in the event of a forced landing or evacuation from an aircraft. In specifying the new system, it was agreed by experts in the Equipment Capability Customer area and the Service front line Commands (including RAF aircrew) that a voice capability was not required. The decision was taken because it was assessed that a voice requirement would not enhance peacetime search capability, and could potentially (for example by reducing battery life) reduce the effectiveness of the system.