Unmanned Vehicles

MCA investigating UAS to support SAR missions

7th February 2020 - 15:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A new project has been announced by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) to boost search and rescue (SAR) capabilities.

The project will investigate if drones could provide enhanced capabilities for SAR missions by visiting rescue sites ahead of air, sea or land based recovery teams; and providing a full picture of the situation to assist in developing the appropriate response.

The project will begin with an exploration of how current regulations can be developed to unlock the potential for drones to help those in distress on the UK’s coastline, making rescues safer and more efficient.

In 2019 the MCA’s civilian SAR helicopters responded to seven missions a day on average, saving more than 1,600 people. In total, the MCA coordinated over 22,000 incidents and rescued over 7,000 people.

Phil Hanson, aviation technical assurance manager, MCA, said: ‘I am extremely proud and excited that the MCA has taken the brave step to take the lead in the development and implementation of beyond visual line of sight drones in UK airspace.

‘The use of drones in search and rescue, counter pollution and maritime aerial observation operations will potentially increase overall efficiency and also reduce the risk to our personnel – allowing the MCA to discharge its international obligations effectively.’

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