Indra, the premier IT company in Spain and a leading IT multinational in Europe, will guarantee security of the 24th Antarctic campaign by supplying several "Man overboard" Location and follow-up systems developed at Indra's Centre of Excellence in Security Systems (CES) in Leon.
The 2010-2011 Antarctic Campaign consists of 16 research projects, 9 of which will be undertaken on the Spanish Antarctic Base "Gabriel de Castilla". The projects will involve 53 researchers -48 of them Spanish- and approximately 20 institutions. The Ministry of Science and Innovation will allot for its funding 3.7 million Euros from the National R&D&i Plan. In addition to this, the Ministry destined 5.3 million Euros to the Spanish facilities for the present edition. This way the 2010-2011 Antarctic Campaign will be completely financed by the Ministry with 9 million Euros.
To achieve success in polar research, the Ministry of Science and Innovation collaborates closely with the Marine Technology Unit of the CSIC (which manages Antarctic Base "Juan Carlos I" and co-ordinates all campaign logistics) as well as with the Ministry of Defence through the Army -which manages Antarctic Base "Gabriel de Castilla"- along with the Navy -in charge of Oceanographic Research Ship "Las Palmas"-.
For a successful and safe campaign, Indra has supplied the Man overboard location (LHA) equipment which facilitates the tasks of the Army members mainly for sea operations. The geographic features of Deception Island, where the Spanish base is located, require operations and transportation by sea which entails a high risk of going overboard due to the atmosphere conditions.
Indra's LHA facilitates search and rescue of people who accidentally fall off a ship or aircraft by means of a transmission of an alarm signal in the international distress frequency of 121.5 MHz.. Therefore, the equipment consists of a personal radiobeacon integrated in the life vest and a receiver station located in the bridge or cabin. These receivers not only send alerts in the event of emergencies but also provide accurate information about the location of people in danger thanks to its GPS micro receiver.
It is highly functional for sea operations as it facilitates search and rescue in the event of any emergency. However, Indra is considering to extent the system to other sectors such as: location of forest patrol units on fire fighting missions, rescue at high altitudes, etc. Indra's LHA equipment is being currently used for people transport by helicopter to offshore oil platforms.
The systems incorporate an interesting feature in the receivers which allow visualising all the information gathered during the rescue using Google Maps or Google Earth, thus facilitating integration in the communications systems of the Antarctic Campaign. Thanks to this incorporation, the equipment provides all the information regarding the position of the radiobeacons not only in real emergencies but also in location operations in the island.
On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that the range of LHA radiobeacons audio alarms extends up to 2 miles (Nautic miles) and 1.2 NM as a data alarm (identification information and GPS). That is, the signal is not retransmitted by the satellite and simply covers the extent of Deception Island. This feature offers great value to the solution and benefits mainly the Antarctic campaign as the alarm will not reach international receivers thus avoiding costly rescue operations lasting from 3 to 4 hours, quite above the time usually required.
Innovation and improvement in performance
To improve its performance, Indra's Man overboard location and follow-up systems have been recently upgraded. The radiobeacons transmitters have been redesigned, new features have been developed and interesting improvements have been incorporated.
The new design improves efficiency and consumption as well as transmission with the exterior. In order to achieve this, the electronic systems have been renovated and the outer structure has been modified for more resistance and capacity of integration in the life vests. They also incorporate a new light indicator by means of a high-luminosity LED device, thus facilitating performance and communications.
The involvement of Indra's systems in this project reaffirms the company's support to innovation and technological development. The XXIV Antarctic Campaign includes research projects on biology, geology, volcanology, seismology, meteorology and climate change. One of these projects is of special interest to the Army as it consists of video and voice transmission in real time (to the base and national territory) as well as the location of equipment across the island.
The mission started in November 30, 2010, with the departure of 12 Spanish soldiers to Argentina in order to join the expedition to Ushuaia. Once there, they sailed onboard ship 'Las Palmas' to the base "Gabriel de Castilla" on Deception Island.
Indra is the premier Information Technology company in Spain and a leading IT multinational in Europe and Latin America. It is ranked as the second European company in its sector according to investment in R&D with nearly Euros 500 M during the last three years. In 2010 revenues reached Euros 2,557 M of which a 40% came from the international market. The company employs more than 30,000 professionals and has clients in more than 100 countries.