Singapore Invests in New Satellite Technology to Enhance Search and Rescue Capabilities

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) have invested in a new Medium-altitude Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) ground system to enhance search and rescue capabilities in Singapore’s maritime and aeronautical Search and Rescue Regions (SRRs).

The system comprises a ground segment as well as a space segment which deploys Medium-altitude Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites. Distress signals, emitted from the emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships or persons in distress, will be received simultaneously by the MEO satellites and relayed back to the ground segment. 

The new MEOSAR ground system is an improvement to the current Low-altitude Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (LEOSAR) ground system, with access to more satellites and employment of more advanced technologies to enhance position accuracy for faster detection and location of distress parties. Costing S$8.4 million, the MEOSAR ground system will be fully operational in 2018. 

Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS, said, “We are committed to ensuring that prompt assistance is available to persons in distress within the Singapore Search and Rescue Region. The acquisition of the improved space-based system will enhance our search and rescue capabilities. It will complement our equipment and resources to provide faster, more accurate and reliable data to locate persons in distress.”

Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, added, “In any search and rescue mission, time is of the essence. The new MEOSAR system will allow us to detect and locate the distress party more accurately for the expeditious deployment of assets to save lives. This is in line with the MPA’s continuous efforts to adopt new technologies to enhance our search and rescue capabilities.” 

The adoption of the MEOSAR ground system is an initiative under the Cospas-Sarsat programme, which is an international satellite-based programme that provides accurate, timely, and reliable distress alert and location data to help search and rescue authorities assist persons in distress. In line with our objective of saving lives, Singapore has been an active participant of the programme since 1991.


Annex A – Overview of Cospas-Sarsat System (PDF, 177 KB)

Annex B – Singapore’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Regions (PDF, 87 KB)

About the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS)

The mission of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is to “Grow a safe, vibrant air hub and civil aviation system, making a key contribution to Singapore‘s success”. CAAS‘ roles are to oversee and promote safety in the aviation industry, develop the air hub and aviation industry, provide air navigation services, develop Singapore as a centre for aviation knowledge and training, and contribute to the development of international aviation.

About the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) was established on 2 February 1996, with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre (IMC), and to advance and safeguard Singapore's strategic maritime interests. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore's port and maritime development, taking on the roles of Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, IMC Champion, and National Maritime Representative. MPA partners the industry and other agencies to enhance safety, security and environmental protection in our port waters, facilitate port operations and growth, expand the cluster of maritime ancillary services, and promote maritime R&D and manpower development.

For further information, please contact :

Michelle Teo (Ms)
Assistant Director, Corporate Communications
Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore
Tel : +65 6541 2086
Mobile: +65 9825 0982
Email :

Fouziah A. Rahim (Ms)
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications Department
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Tel : +65 6375 1852 
Mobile: +65 9787 6937 
Email :

Last Updated on 21 May 2020