ACR/Inmarsat strike deal

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Safety and survival technology manufacturer ACR Electronics, Inc., has reached an agreement to sell more than 1,000 GlobalFix 406 EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) to satellite communications provider Inmarsat, the companies reported in a recent release.

Inmarsat has already announced the closure of Inmarsat E services on 1 December, withdrawing the L-Band EPIRBs currently in service and replacing them with the new 406 MHz EPIRBs with GPS capability. The replacement program will commence Jan. 1, 2006. ACR was selected to fulfill the contract, which may reach $1.3 million.

The order for EPIRBs was placed with ACR following a review of credentials and product performance capabilities and standards from several manufacturers.

Inmarsat has supported the Global Maritime Distress and Safety Service
(GMDSS) since its inception, assisting in the preservation of life at sea, and remains fully focused on this task. Inmarsatˆs L-Band EPIRB has not been widely adopted as a core element of GMDSS; introduced in January 1997, it has a small user base and slow growth rate, and a global ground infrastructure that would need replacing by the end of 2006. Inmarsat took the decision therefore, with the agreement of the International Maritime Organization, to withdraw the service.

Current users of the L-Band EPIRB service will receive, free of charge, ACRˆs most function-rich 406 EPIRB — the GlobalFix with internal GPS. Users will be contacted individually by Inmarsat, to provide them with full details of arrangements for the replacement program, which will be managed by ACR Electronics, Inc, according to the release.

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