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Dutch Ministry of Defence Deploys Globalstar SPOT Gen4 Satellite GPS for Paratrooper Training

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Dutch Ministry of Defence Deploys Globalstar SPOT Gen4 Satellite GPS for Paratrooper Training

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Dutch paratroopers conduct airborne operations
Dutch paratroopers conduct airborne operations

Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc., announces that the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) has deployed 120 SPOT Gen4 satellite GPS messengers to track and provide safety for paratroopers. The Dutch MoD carried out extensive testing and trials of SPOT Gen4. The device proved to be the ideal solution for the MoD’s needs, and capable of delivering superior, reliable performance in all the highly challenging contexts which paratroopers face. Other technologies and solutions were trialed and evaluated. For example, four years ago, the organisation procured GPS trackers from another provider. These used 3G telecom technology, however, and very soon were dismissed as unable to provide sufficient coverage and reliability.

Niels is an instructor at the Dutch Defense Paratrooper School (DPS) and is Safety & Quality Manager. “In the places where we do our skydiving training, in remote mountainous and desert locations worldwide, conventional telecoms networks cannot be relied on. So, we knew that we required a solution based on satellite technology. If navigation were to go wrong either on the plane or by the paratrooper, without a reliable tracker, it can take a very long time for us to locate the user. The Dutch MoD gained further confidence in SPOT’s effectiveness following referral and recommendation from its Belgian counterpart. We often work co-operatively with the Belgian paratrooper school on training programmes; they had already been using SPOT and advised us that the Globalstar SPOT system is very reliable and could be trusted to perform well in the highly challenging situations which we face”.

It is essential for operational teams that SPOT Gen4 performs flawlessly in very extreme conditions. Paratrooper training is gruelling and inherently dangerous. Military personnel engage in exercises which see them jumping from aircraft any time of day or night, in any climate, with full military kit. Skydive jumps in darkness require the addition of night vision equipment to the service person’s necessary gear. The Netherlands’ paratroopers undergo training internationally in a wide range of challenging operational environments. Skydiving exercises are conducted in the rugged mountains of Switzerland, France and elsewhere in Europe as well as locations throughout the North American Rockies. Training for desert operations takes place across the expansive plains of Arizona and California as well as in Europe, all remote locations where conventional terrestrial communications networks can’t reliably reach.

SPOT Gen4 satellite GPS messengers
Globalstar SPOT Gen4 satellite GPS messengers

In addition to skydiving in far-flung locations, paratroopers must endure extremes in temperature. Teams carrying out Winter parachuting exercises in Scandinavia routinely endure -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees F) plummeting to -60 degrees Celsius (-76 degrees F) at very high altitudes, from where the paratrooper needs to jump carrying an oxygen supply. Some Army and Marines paratrooper teams have a separate radio-based communications system, which can be connected with satellite GPS, but this solution is expensive and not universally available to all operational units. SPOT’s reliable connectivity, enabled by Globalstar’s satellite fleet in low-Earth-Orbit, was the pre-eminent factor in the MoD’s procurement decision. SPOT’s ease of use, particularly in the intense context of being used while parachuting, was also pivotal. The system needs to be practical and very simple to operate. SPOT’s reliability together with its easy operation are the standout features for us; we know we can trust SPOT to function at anytime, anywhere.

SPOT Gen4, launched in EMEA in August 2020, is the newest member of Globalstar’s award-winning SPOT device family. It offers enhanced mapping interfaces, more display options, improved water resistance, and geofencing, among other improvements. Like its precedents, SPOT Gen4 features a one-touch SOS button which instantly sends the user’s GPS co-ordinates either to FocusPoint International Inc. or to an organisation’s operations and/or security teams, depending on the customer’s preferred configuration. The buttons on SPOT Gen4 can be flexibly configured to send pre-programmed messages, with options for transmission types. Users can check in with colleagues via the OK button and SPOT can be used for other non-emergency communications using the Help button. Award-winning SPOT devices are credited with over 8,000 rescues worldwide to date.

Globalstar is a leading provider of customizable Satellite IoT Solutions for customers around the world in industries such as oil and gas, transportation, emergency management, government, maritime and outdoor recreation. A pioneer of mobile satellite voice and data services, Globalstar solutions connect people to their devices and allow businesses to streamline operations providing safety and communication and enabling mobile assets to be monitored remotely via the Globalstar Satellite Network. The Company’s Commercial IoT product portfolio includes industry-acclaimed Smart One asset tracking products, Commercial IoT satellite transmitters and the SPOT® product line for personal safety, messaging and emergency response, all supported on SPOT My Globalstar, a robust cloud-based enhanced mapping solution. Note that all SPOT products described in this press release are the products of SPOT LLC, a subsidiary of Globalstar, which is not affiliated in any manner with Spot Image of Toulouse, France or Spot Image Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia.

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