Title: Combat Search and Rescue: Menwith Hill Station's Role in Saving Lives

Release Date: 2017-09-13

Document Date: 2005-03-23

Description: The Menwith Hill Station takes a direct role in combat search and rescue (CSAR) operations, processing distress transmissions received from troops and sending them to rescue efforts. The station has successfully aided in the rescue of U.S. personnel in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, and participates in CSAR trainings and simulations with U.K. Special Forces.

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(C) Combat Search and Rescue: Menwith Hill Station's Role in Saving
Lives
FROM:
MHS Operations Staff (F77O)
Run Date: 03/23/2005

MHS picks up radio transmissions from downed aircrews, informs rescuers of location (S//SI)
(S//SI) Menwith Hill Station (MHS) operators and analysts know that they have made significant
contributions to saving lives! That's because they have been involved in Combat Search and
Rescue (CSAR) events since 1999. During a search and rescue event, MHS processes radio
transmissions from downed pilots and soldiers and provides locational information to the rescue
efforts. This, of course, must be done in a matter of minutes to be effective in a combat
situation. The following article describes the CSAR program at MHS, gives some real examples,
and takes a look into the future.

(S//SI) Although the CSAR program started in 1999 as a fledgling engineering-oriented
program, MHS achieved some noteworthy successes during and after Operation ENDURING
FREEDOM and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The first time came in November 2001 when a U.S.
MH-53 helicopter crashed near Kabul, Afghanistan. MHS found the crew's radio signals and the
rescue personnel used this information to locate the downed aircrew and fly them to Pakistan.
That same year, a B1-B aircraft issued a distress call before crashing approximately 80 miles
north of Diego Garcia. MHS monitored the distress frequency and issued 21 Klieglights before
the aircraft personnel were recovered.
(S//SI) In Iraq, MHS supported the rescue of crews of several aircraft. MHS was able to quickly
locate the area where two pilots ejected out of the F-14 over southern Iraq. The pilots were
recovered within 90 minutes of the incident. When a U.S. CH-47 CHINOOK helicopter went down
60 miles southeast of Baghdad during an in-flight emergency in April 2004, MHS operators again
supported the rescue efforts to recover all five personnel.
(S//SI) MHS is able to respond so quickly to actual rescue events because it participates in
exercises such as the Desert Rescue XI, a joint CSAR exercise run by the Naval Strike and Air
Warfare Center in Nevada. These exercises not only train the MHS operators but also ensure the
pilots and crew understand proper procedures in a crisis situation. In September 2003, MHS also
successfully supported a UK SAS* general exercise/training scenario that allowed the UK Special
Forces to practice recovery of a simulated distressed element in a real world environment. The
exercise consisted of a combat search and rescue test in the vicinity of Thumrait airfield in
Oman. The MHS operators were able to pinpoint the crew's position from 15 seconds of a onewatt voice transmission, an incredible feat.
(C) Because of its remarkable success in CSAR events and exercises, MHS has become a center
of excellence for CSAR within the intelligence community. This is due to our high standards in
training and evaluation, processing, and reporting procedures. Indeed, each new successful
rescue has fueled increased support requirements from the Combat Commands and Service
training communities.
(C) MHS has also seen an increased liaison, marketing, and training role with the UK and US
military in Europe. Menwith Hill will continue to improve the technology and procedures to meet
the growing technical and training challenges of a CSAR environment that now includes five
different radios with vastly different capabilities and processing requirements, the expansion of
mission to include our Allies, and near continuous operations since 9/11.
(U//FOUO) Because of classification restrictions, this article could not go into greater detail. If

you are interested in more information on the CSAR program, please contact
at
or email
* (U) Notes:
SAS = Special Air Service

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

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TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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