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Call for Proposals for Development of MEOSAR Beacons (MEOSAR) - GSA/GRANT/02/2017
Deadline: May 31, 2017  

 Aerospace Technology
 Mobile technology


1.1. Introduction

The mission of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is to support European Union objectives and achieve the highest return on the European GNSS (E-GNSS) investment represented by the EGNOS and Galileo programmes, in terms of benefits to users, economic growth and competitiveness.

Galileo is a global navigation system under deployment in Europe. It is a civil system under civil control, intended to provide navigation services to users, including reliable services for specific user communities. Initial services are based on a number of satellites placed in orbit that can be used in combination with GPS satellites. Already at this stage the users will be able to exploit a significant improvement in terms of signal availability, especially in harsh environments, as in urban canyons, where chances to receive signals from GNSS satellites are limited due to the restricted visibility of the sky. Galileo will provide precise, reliable and robust open service, enabling other desirable properties such as better resistance against multipath.

Galileo will play an important role in the Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) system. When it is integrated into the COSPAS-SARSAT system, the Search and Rescue Transponder on Galileo satellites will pick up signals emitted from distress beacons in the 406 – 406.1 MHz band and broadcast this information to dedicated ground stations (MEOLUTs) in the ‘L6’ band. Once these signals are detected and the beacons are located by the MEOLUTs, COSPAS-SARSAT Mission Control Centres (MCC) will receive the beacon location information and distribute the data to the relevant rescue centres worldwide.

Thanks to the work of European companies and state-of-the-art EU technology, the integration of Galileo into COSPAS-SARSAT will improve the system by:

  •   enabling nearly real-time detection and localisation of distress signals from anywhere in the world, significantly improving the latency between the beacon activation and distress localisation (today, it takes up to three hours);

  •   making it easier to find the source of a signal by significantly boosting precision in comparison to the current situation;

  •   increasing availability and improving the detection of signals in difficult terrain or weather conditions thanks to multiple satellites;

  •   introducing a return link that the Search and Rescue (SAR) operator can send back to the beacon to let people know that their distress signal has been received and a rescue mission has been initiated.

A COSPAS-SARSAT 406-MHz beacon, also called a distress radio beacon or emergency beacon, is a radio transmitter that can be activated in a life-threatening emergency to summon assistance from government authorities.

Ongoing H2020 projects (the project portfolio can be accessed at projects) are implementing Galileo SAR on second generation beacons including design, development, tests and standardisation for Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs), Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and Personal Location Beacons (PLBs).

In order to prepare the market for the declaration of the return link service by mid-2018, it is necessary to ensure the inclusion of the return link capability also in First Generation Beacons.


1.2. Background of the call

This call is based on the Delegation Agreement concluded between the European Union, represented by the European Commission, and the European GNSS Agency (GSA) on the Exploitation Phase of the Galileo Programme signed on 2 October 2014.

In this framework, and in accordance with the Galileo Grants Plan for 2016 published on the GSA website (, the GSA is launching a call for proposals to increase integration of Galileo capability in MEOSAR Beacons.


2.1. Objective of the call for proposals

With the award of the grants, this Call for Proposal aims to achieve the following objectives:

(1) Secure the availability of commercial products from European manufacturers of MEOSAR Beacons compatible with the Return Link Service capabilities implemented by Galileo.

(2) Develop and test Galileo based MEOSAR Location Protocol beacons (ELT, EPIRB and PLB) according to C/S T.001 and with the following capabilities:

  1. Return Link Service (RLS) function (required)

  2. internal GNSS position source (required)

  3. RLS location protocol to encode the position data (required)

  4. RLS indicator (required)

  5. automatic activation on indication of emergency (required in ELTs and EPIRBs)

  6. cancellation function (required in ELT DT, optional for other beacons)

(3) Obtain the type approval according to C/S T.007

The final outcome resulting from the achievement of the above-mentioned objectives shall be COSPAS SARSAT type approved MEOSAR beacons including Galileo RLS.

2.2. Scope and areas of activities of the call for proposals

The scope of this call is to implement Galileo RLS in SAR beacons, investing in such Galileo differentiators and consequently increasing the European industry knowledge, innovation capacity and market positioning in this field.

In order to reach the objectives of this call, the applicants shall conduct the activities in one or more of the three areas described below:

(1) PersonalLocationBeacons(PLBs).


PLBs are designed to be carried by individuals. Sometimes PLBs are carried aboard aircraft or vessels, but the user must check with local authorities about the circumstances under which this is permitted. Activities in this area should include an assessment of required and optional functionalities in Section 2.1, power consumption optimisation and approach to reduce false alarms rate.

(2) EmergencyPosition-IndicatingRadioBeacon(EPIRB).
EPIRBs are designed for use aboard a marine vessel. Projects in this area shall include an assessment of

required and optional functionalities in Section 2.1 and shall consider float beacon types. (3) Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) and Distress tracking ELT

ELTs are designed for use in an aircraft. Distress tracking ELT (ELT(DT)) refers to a specific type of ELT designed to be activated prior to a crash and to function in compliance with the ICAO GADSS (International Civil Aviation Organisation Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System) requirements for the location of an aeroplane in distress. ELT(DT) may be activated automatically upon detection of a distress condition while in flight or it may also be activated manually. Projects in this area shall include an assessment of required and optional functionalities in Section 2.1 and analysis of a potential implementation of the remote in-flight activation.

In addition, all proposals submitted to any of the above three (3) areas described shall:

  1. Design and develop the beacon(-s) according to C/S T.001

  2. Test the beacon(-s) and obtain type approval as specified in C/S T.007

3. Perform dissemination activities in specialised publications (such as professional magazines, conferences proceedings, standardisation reports, etc).

2.3. Core activities

For the purpose of this call the following activities (belonging to one or more of the three areas described above in section 2.2) are considered core to the project:

  • -  management and coordination,

  • -  the design of preliminary technical architecture,

  • -  completion of the user manual and

  • -  dissemination.

2.4. Deliverables

The applicants are expected to submit during the implementation of the action a list of deliverables. The proposal (in the B1 Form) should define the planning for their submission as well as their nature and format (document, prototype, multimedia, etc.).

The list of deliverables shall include at least the following:

  1. (1)  Workplan(includingprojectworkflow)

  2. (2)  System and operational requirements document, including those specified in sections 2.1 and 2.2.

  3. (3)  Preliminarytechnicalarchitectureandbeacon(-s)design

  4. (4)  Detailed architecture of the beacon(-s)

  5. (5)  Test plan, cases and procedures

  6. (6)  Testreports



GSA reserves the right to timely inform (e.g. at the Kick-Off meeting) the beneficiary about the place of delivery (either the GSA or other EU institutions).

The draft grant agreement is specifying the conditions of the ownership and right to use policy of the above deliverables.

NOTE: In case the beneficiary opts for conducting a demonstration, it shall provide to the GSA a fully functional demonstrator including prototype(s), additional hardware/software, IPRs licencing, if necessary, and any related documentation.

2.5. Outputs expected from the implementation of activities

The proposals shall aim to achieve the objectives of the action. All the deliverables (as listed in section 2.4), will be used by EU and GSA in accordance with Article II.9 of the Grant Agreement.



Scheduled start-up date for the action: October 2017, unless the applicants can demonstrate the need to start the action before the agreement is signed.

Maximum duration of the action: 2 (two) years


Publication of the call

28 February 2017



Deadline for request for clarifications

5 May 2017



Publication of the clarifications

16 May 2017



Deadline for submitting applications

31 May 2017



Evaluation period

June 2017


Information to applicants on the outcome of the evaluation

July 2017


Signature of the Grant Agreement

September 2017



Maximum budget allocated for EU financing under this action: EUR 4.000.000 Maximum number of projects: 4
Indicative EU financing amount for each project up to: EUR 1.000.000 Maximum EU financing rate of eligible costs: 70%

Publication of the call does not guarantee the availability of funds for the above action and it places no obligation on the GSA to award grants to any applicant.

GSA reserves the right to award a grant of less than the amount requested by the applicant. In such a case, the applicant(s) will be asked either to increase his co-financing, propose other co-financing means or to decrease the total costs without altering the substance of the proposal. Grants will not be awarded for more than the amount requested.


5.1. Entities involved in the activities subject to the proposal

The proposal shall clearly identify the entities (legal and/or natural persons) to be involved in the activities subject to the proposal, being the applicant1(s) (including coordinator and co-applicants) as well as any third parties, such as affiliated entities and subcontractors and their contributions to the implementation of the proposal under the grant agreement. Parties’ participation in the project will be subject to the requirements as laid down in this Call for Proposals.

5.2. Single Applicant

In case the proposal is submitted by a single applicant, it will be considered as mono-beneficiary if the proposal is successful.

5.3. Coordinator

If the proposal is submitted by a group of several co-applicants they will form a consortium and will become consortium members. The consortium members (multi-beneficiaries) should choose within their midst a lead organisation, referred to as the “Coordinator”.


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