A red handheld flare, the minimum pyrotechnic for which the project investigated alternatives. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Alternatives to pyrotechnic distress signals

Distress flares are vital to boating safety, but pyrotechnic flares can pose a safety hazard to people not trained in their use. In addition, expired flares can create environmental hazards through leaching chemicals when disposed of in landfills or at sea. As an alternative, the Coast Guard has been researching the suitability of light emitting diode (LED) devices as effective distress signals through its Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program.


Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Innovation Awards

The Coast Guard Innovation Council assesses and provides strategic guidance on emerging technologies, missions, gaps, challenges and requirements. Recently, 12 Coast Guard members were honored for ideas that significantly impacted the service’s operations with the Capt. Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards during the Senior Leadership Conference held at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Short-range UAS for the maritime environment

The Coast Guard Research and Development Center has been evaluating short-range, hand-launched UAS for several years. Researchers have also evaluated short-range UAS in realistic maritime security, first responder and pollution response scenarios. The lessons learned are being used to develop concept of operations for Coast Guard-specific missions.


Scot Tripp and Lt. Cmdr. Shaun Vaccaro perform final checks on a Coast Guard-developed Hailing Acoustic Laser Light Tactical System onboard Coast Guard Cutter Flores, Feb. 14, 2018, in a Miami harbor. The CG-HALLTS system was designed by the Coast Guard Research and Development Center to effectively communicate and enforce maritime security zones with boaters. U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center photo.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Laser light communication system CG-HALLTS

Coast Guard Law Enforcement personnel need an unambiguous tool to better attract boaters’ attention and communicate with them. The Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program is currently testing a possible solution: a Hailing Acoustic Laser Light Tactical System appropriately called CG-HALLTS. Instead of launching a small boat or dispatching a helicopter to determine a boater’s intent, the Coast Guard may be able to de-escalate a high-alert scenario with CG-HALLTS.


Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 helicopter crew and Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak pollution responders conduct an overflight in response to an oil spill in Shuyak Strait, 49 miles north of Kodiak, Alaska, Feb. 27, 2018. The Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation established a unified command in response to the oil spill as part of the service’s marine environmental protection mission. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Detection, Mitigation of Oil within the Water Column

As part of the Coast Guard’s marine environmental protection mission, the Research and Development Center recently completed a project to identify and prototype technologies capable of detecting and mitigating the impacts of oil in the water column that show promise for future commercialization and implementation.


Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Cockpit Laser Strike Protection

Laser strikes are a safety concern for both commercial and military aviation because direct eye strikes can result in temporary flash blindness or eye damage, depending on the strength of the laser. The Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center is working to find options that would provide the necessary eye protection for pilots while still allowing the level of visibility needed for operational awareness and to see the many indicators used during SAR missions – one of those options is a flexible optical filter. Find out more here!


Crew members of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton put bales of heroin and cocaine onto a crane to be removed from the cutter's flight deck, Sept. 20, 2017, in San Diego. The Coast Guard and its interagency partners seized over 455,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $6 billion wholesale in Fiscal Year 2017, breaking the U.S. record for most cocaine seized in a single year. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer DaVonte' Marrow.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Long-Range, Ultra-Long Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System

To augment interdiction efforts in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific, the Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program is investigating the feasibility, costs and benefits of using land-based long-range and ultra-long endurance unmanned aircraft systems to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in contraband transit zones.


Research, Development, Test & Evaluation Spotlight: Joint Maritime Test Facility

Mobile, Alabama, is known for bringing Mardi Gras to the United States, for the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War, and as home to Hank Aaron and Satchel Paige. Few are aware of the important maritime research contributions a Mobile facility has delivered for nearly 50 years.


The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maple follows the crew of Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker Terry Fox, Aug. 12, 2017, during Maple’s 2017 Northwest Passage transit. As maritime traffic in the area increases, a Coast Guard Research and Development Center project seeks a reliable means of providing critical navigational safety information such as hazards, chart corrections and weather to Arctic mariners via digital means. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn.

Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation: Arctic Navigational Safety Information System

Mariners face a multitude of hazards in the Arctic. The extensive seasonal melting of sea ice, reduction of multi-year ice and increase in first-year ice throughout the Arctic has generated an increase in maritime traffic. To help mitigate some of the risks associated with that increase, the Coast Guard has partnered with the Marine Exchange of Alaska (MXAK) to provide critical navigational safety information to Arctic mariners via digital means.


Crew members from Coast Guard Station Golden Gate brace themselves in their 47-foot motor life boat during heavy surf training off the coast of San Francisco. Surf Station Operations require a high level of head protection due to factors like the possibility of moderate impact force, extreme wave/surf heights and minimal warning time. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Barry Lane.

Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation: Boat crew helmets

Helmets are worn by boat crew members to provide head protection during hazardous conditions in various environments. The Coast Guard Research and Development Center has been evaluating personal protective helmets. The center’s extensive research will benefit 16,000 Coast Guard boat crew members throughout the active duty, reserve and auxiliary ranks.


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