Coast Guard to test new radar with Vessel Monitoring System

BOSTON – The Coast Guard will conduct a two-week test and evaluation of a new aircraft-mounted search radar July 21-30, 2009, affecting commercial fisherman with the Vessel Monitoring System.

Commercial fishing boats equipped with VMS in the radar testing areas may experience VMS polling signals as often as every 10 minutes. This increase in signal activity is for testing purposes only, and is not associated with targeted fisheries enforcement. The tests will occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time. Fishing vessels will not be charged for the increased VMS polling rate.

Coast Guard aircraft participating in the testing and evaluation are the HC-130 Hercules and HC-144 Ocean Sentry. These aircraft support typical air missions such as search and rescue, law enforcement, maritime domain awareness, living marine resources, International Ice Patrol, and marine environmental protection.

The testing goal is to measure the performance of the planes’ radar-operator systems in a realistic scenario using 40 – 60-foot long commercial fishing vessels underway in the fishing grounds off the New England coast.

The test will collect the Vessel Monitoring System positions for selected vessels and compare it to recorded observations from the airborne radar systems. VMS is managed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. VMS is one of many tools the Coast Guard uses to monitor vessels underway for law enforcement and search and rescue.

Flights are scheduled for daylight hours Tuesday through Friday the first week and Monday through Thursday during the second week.

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