HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Handheld radios used by the U.S. Air Force in the location and rescue of missing aircraft crews are receiving upgrades from Boeing.
Boeing reported that the contracts for upgrades to the Combat Survivor Evader Locator, which result in faster search and rescue, are worth $13.6 million.
A total of 54,400 CSEL ultra-high frequency radios are currently in the Air Force inventory.
"These new contracts confirm that Boeing is meeting our commitments to provide our military customers with world-class, next-generation communications capabilities," said Boeing CSEL Program Manager Steve Capps. "CSEL provides the U.S. military with the strategic advantage of an easy-to-use, multifunction radio that has already played a critical role in numerous successful rescues involving downed combat forces and pilots."
Boeing said upgrades to CSEL UHF base stations will also be undertaken.
"There's never been anything like CSEL for search and rescue," said Air Force Lt. Matthew Renner, previously a CSEL test engineer with the Joint Program Office for Personnel Recovery at Hanscom Air Force Base. "These new capabilities can reduce rescue time and give isolated personnel another option to get home safely."
Neither Boeing nor the Air Force revealed a contract performance timeline.