Combat Survival Evader Locator (CSEL) System

Lt. Commander Gene Pennisi with Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4, Naval Air Station Norfolk, VA, holds a Combat Survival Evader Locator (CSEL) AN/PRQ-7 Hand-held Radio while participating in a survivor extraction exercise during Desert Rescue IX, Fallon Naval Air Station, NV, 26 June 2001
Lt. Commander Gene Pennisi with Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4, Naval Air Station Norfolk, VA, holds a Combat Survival Evader Locator (CSEL) AN/PRQ-7 Hand-held Radio while participating in a survivor extraction exercise during Desert Rescue IX, Fallon Naval Air Station, NV, 26 June 2001.

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Combat Survival Evader Locator (CSEL) System

CSEL System Architecture and Components
CSEL System Architecture and Components

The Combat Survival Evader Locator (CSEL) System is utilized for locating and rescuing downed aircrew members, via satellite, anywhere in the world. CSEL will provide enhanced search and rescue capabilities by replacing survival radios AN/PRC-90 and AN/PRC-112 with updated GPS location and communication technologies. Two-way encrypted over-the-horizon data communications capability distinguish CSEL from the previous survival radios.

CSEL is a joint tri-service program of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army which provides reliable 24-hour two-way near-real-time secure messaging and voice communications combined with accurate geopositioning. The objective is to enable recovery forces to authenticate and extract a survivor on the first attempt in all terrain, threat, and visibility conditions worldwide, independent of the isolated person’s location or circumstances. With Rockwell (acquired by Boeing) chosen as the prime contractor/system integrator in 1996, the Air Force took delivery of the first thirty CSELs in December 1997 for operational test and evaluation. After significant project delays, CSEL was fielded in 2002 and the first U.S. Army use of CSEL (by the 3rd Infantry Division) took place in September 2004. By mid-2006 Boeing delivered more than 8,200 radios to the joint services with additional production contracts following for an eventual total of nearly 50,000 units.

Combat Survival Evader Locator (CSEL) System Components

CSEL is an end-to-end system composed of three segments: a user segment that includes a hand-held radio, an over-the-horizon segment for satellite communications, and a ground segment consisting of multiple command, control, and communications (C3) workstations located in Joint Search & Rescue Centers (JSRC).

Each component is further described on its linked page or below.

Combat Survival Evader Locator (CSEL) User Segment

The CSEL User Segment equipment includes the AN/PRQ-7 Hand-held Radio (HHR), Radio Set Adaptor (RSA), and the CSEL Planning Computer (CPC). The HHR incorporates satellite-link data and line-of-sight voice communications along with GPS-derived coordinates to quickly identify, locate and authenticate the survivor. The Radio Set Adapter (RSA) J-6431/PRQ-7 is a small briefcase-sized device that provides the physical interface between the HHR, the CSEL Planning Computer and the AN/CYZ-10 DTD. The CPC hosts the mission loading application software that allows loading of frequencies, waypoints, GPS and communication crypto keys, identification codes, and GPS reference data from the reference radio to the target radio.

The AN/CYZ-10 Data Transfer Device (DTD) is required to load GPS cryptographic keys each time a radio is configured, connected to the HHR via the RSA. The key fill device and HHR provide CSEL with improved jam and spoofing resistance by incorporating the next-generation Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) GPS module.

Combat Survival Evader Locator (CSEL) Ground Segment

The CSEL ground segment consists of multiple Joint Search & Rescue Center (JSRC) computer workstations that contain a CSEL command, control, and communications (C3) application. These receive survivor messages via a Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) link utilizing the existing Defense Information System Network to the affiliated UHF Base Station (UBS). JSRC personnel read these messages, route them to other locations as necessary, track survivor location on National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) maps, plan and coordinate rescue and recovery operations, and pass messages back to the survivor over UHF SATCOM via the UBS throughout the process, as required.

Combat Survival Evader Locator (CSEL) Over-the-Horizon (OTH) Segment

The CSEL OTH Segment consists of four AN/GRC-242 Radio Set Base Stations, also known as UHF Base Stations (UBS). The UBS is the hub of the CSEL over-the-horizon command and control architecture. The OTH Segment communicates over military UHF SATCOM system and the civilian Search & Rescue Satellite Assisted Tracking (Cospas-Sarsat) system. The UHF SATCOM mode supports two-way secure data communications between a UBS and the radio over a dedicated 5 KHz channel. Messages are responded to by the JSRC or component RCC controller via a UBS secure UHF SATCOM data transmission.

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