A rescuer suspended from a helicopter - innovative search and rescue technology transforming the landscape of lifesaving missions

Mobile phone technology transforming search and rescue

Learn how mobile phones become beacons, saving lives in critical moments. Explore the revolutionary Redstreak technology reshaping airborne search and rescue missions

The landscape of airborne search and rescue (SAR) missions is undergoing a groundbreaking transformation, thanks to award-winning technology developed in Europe. The system, known as the Redstreak Mobile Phone Detection and Location System (MPDLS), was developed by Leonardo and Smith Myers Communications and uses mobile phone location data to guide search and rescue teams to casualties, even in areas with no network coverage.

First installed on the Norwegian All Weather Search and Rescue Helicopter (NAWSARH) AW101 fleet, Redstreak turns every standard mobile phone into a rescue beacon, drastically reducing response times and enhancing the chances of survival for those in distress.

At the 2018 Royal Aeronautical Society awards, Redstreak received the prestigious Silver Medal for its ability to locate and communicate with casualties swiftly and safely.

Leonardo's expertise in airborne system development, coupled with Smith Myers's telecommunications hardware and software know-how, resulted in a powerful search and rescue  solution. The Redstreak team, comprised of engineers from Smith Myers and Leonardo, conducted successful trials that showcased the system's capabilities. With ranges exceeding 30km and the ability to detect phones buried in snow, Redstreak outperforms traditional search and rescue methods. The technology operates irrespective of visibility, covering search areas more quickly and efficiently, enhancing the overall effectiveness of SAR missions.

James Vincent, Leonardo's technical lead on the project, expressed confidence in Redstreak's future integration across various platforms. Already supporting Norway's NAWSARH AW101 helicopters, Redstreak's success in air, land, and sea evaluations is receiving considerable interest from SAsearch and rescue providers. The technology not only increases the probability of successful rescues but also reduces mission duration and cost.

As Redstreak continues to redefine the possibilities of airborne search and rescue, it stands as a beacon of hope, demonstrating the potential of cutting-edge technologies to save lives and transform emergency response operations globally.

Source: Leonardo