automatically search, locate and communicate over the best available frequency, with communications routed
through the nearest tower. The radio
essentially becomes a cellphone, as the
user enters an ALE address, similar to
dialing a phone number, and presses
The Navy’s Mobile User Objec-
tive System (MUOS), a narrowband
satellite communications tool
designed to support mobile capabili-
ties, also may be helpful for Arctic
operations, complementing the Irid-
ium satellite system. “We’re hoping
MUOS offers a little bit more band-
width. A lot of the problem we have
with satellite communications is band-
width, specifically. You can’t do a lot
with streaming video or anything like
that, and that’s the kind of informa-
tion people are looking for these days,”
Tripp offers. Decision makers no lon-
ger are satisfied with updates once a
mission is complete. They want con-
stant communication and video feeds
during an operation, he adds.
The Coast Guard research team also
partners with the Marine Exchange
of Alaska, a nonprofit established to
serve the Alaska maritime community by providing information, communications and services to ensure
safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible nautical operations.
It offers an extensive Automatic Identification System (AIS) infrastructure.
The AIS is used aboard maritime vessels around the world to transmit vital
information, such as ship name, cargo
Tripp indicates the AIS may be
able to provide additional information. “We want to use that to enhance
marine safety even further by having
it broadcast weather reports, possibly,
or restricted areas. This is just an augment to the AIS system. It gives a little
better information because weather
reporting up there is still under development, and this gives the mariners
more information to keep them a little
bit safer,” he elaborates.
Although each Arctic research and
development project is separate, they
all are related. “They’re all under one
umbrella of Coast Guard missions.
The bottom line is that we’re here to
develop and improve technologies for
Coast Guard use,” Tripp observes.
A Coast Guard test team begins
deployment of an aerostat off the flight
deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy in
the Arctic region. This year, researchers are
evaluating a smaller version with higher
wind capabilities. The aerostat will carry a
communications package that will allow
contact with an unmanned aerial vehicle
that has flown beyond the line of sight.
A net capture system is being
evaluated to replace the
need to recover unmanned
aircraft, such as the Puma,
from the cold Arctic waters.
The aircraft encountered
difficulties with maintaining
GPS lock and with wind shear
around the superstructure.
contact: George I. Seffers,