The Coast Guard is deploying a modified Rescue 21 system in the state of Alaska, to provide a more cost-effective and realistic search and rescue communications solution suitable for the state's unique coastal operating environment. The modified system is heavily influenced by supportability, weather, environment, habitability, terrain, power and bandwidth issues particular to the state. The most notable difference between the modified system and the Rescue 21 system being deployed across the rest of the continental United States is in direction finding capability. Due to technical infeasibility no DF service will be implemented in Alaska. The Coast Guard will deploy new remote radio control console systems, VHF FM radios and Digital Selective Calling capability to the state’s two sectors.
Rescue 21 replaces the National Distress and Response System, which has been in use since the 1970s. Rescue 21 Alaska will enable the Coast Guard to continuously monitor digital selective calling and more accurately identify the location of callers in distress.
The Coast Guard will implement Rescue 21 in Alaska in-house. The Coast Guard identified more than 30 critical sites in the southeast portion of the state, Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, Shelikof Straight, Bristol Bay, Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Chain. The Coast Guard has scheduled all work in Alaska for completion by the end of 2017.