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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Coast Guard on Tuesday formally accepted the its new Rescue 21 search and rescue communications system for Sector San Juan.
With the command center located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sector San Juan is responsible for all Coast Guard missions throughout the Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands region.
Using advanced direction-finding technologies and digital communications, the life-saving Rescue 21 system enables Coast Guard personnel to respond rapidly and efficiently to calls from distressed mariners out to at least 20 nautical miles from shore.
The system, built by General Dynamics C4 Systems, also enables the Coast Guard to be more effective in responding to security and maritime environmental threats.
"As the national Rescue 21 system, with its 245 towers, moves closer to becoming a nationwide interoperable communication network, we look forward to delivering a much-needed interconnection for port security," said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems.
San Juan is only the latest Coast Guard sector to boot up Rescue 21. Sector Lake Michigan received its system in April. The systems began going online throughout the Eastern and Southern parts of the U.S. since 2007, and through the Great Lakes region and the West Coast during 2010 and 2011.
Coast Guard sectors of the Ohio River Valley and the upper and lower Mississippi are scheduled to receive the system in 2014. Alaska will receive Rescue 21 by 2017, according to the Coast Guard's published schedule.
Rescue 21 is interoperable with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and emergency first responders' communication systems, enhancing inter-agency cooperation that enables the Coast Guard to be more effective in accomplishing their various homeland security missions, according to General Dynamics.
Rescue 21 towers and command centers are also designed to accommodate additional sensors and command and control equipment, which will deliver new and cost-effective capabilities to the Coast Guard's overarching mission.
Rescue 21 currently monitors more than 41,700 miles of U.S. coastline. For a map of the national Rescue 21 system, visit www.gdc4s.com/Rescue21NationalMap.