Israeli firm Elbit Systems’ Emergency Personal Locator Beacon has entered service with the Royal Air Force.

The company say that the first EPLB to be accredited on life jackets for unassisted operation in water has made its inaugural operational flight on the RAF’s Typhoon aircraft.

In the event of an accident or aircrew ejection from an aircraft, the EPLB delivers emergency alerts to the international search and rescue (SAR) satellite constellation as well as homing signals to local SAR teams.

This firm say that this will enable a quick and effective rescue of stranded aircrew, significantly increasing the probability of survival. A key benefit of ESUK’s EPLB is that it embeds two different technologies within one product, meaning that many pilots who currently must use separate pieces will now be able to use one, integrated piece of equipment.

“The EPLB will be able to operate efficiently in all weather conditions and at a full range of temperatures, for a minimum of 24 hours, across Land and Sea. It activates automatically upon ejection, meaning that even an unconscious pilot can be detected. The technology has been intensively tested in the UK and internationally, and is also in use with several different Armed Forces.

It can be fitted to a comprehensive range of aircrafts, including fast jets, helicopters, and transport aircraft.”

Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK said:

“Elbit Systems UK is committed to protecting and supporting the Armed Forces, here and around the world, with the best equipment and technologies available.

We are proud that our pioneering EPLB has been chosen to safeguard RAF pilots, an example of how innovative but proven technology can be transferred to the UK and customised for specific UK requirements.”

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Nick Bowman

…available to recreational boaters for about $500 in the US. They attach to your life preserver or to the boat. I wonder how much the MOD is paying.


I would imagine a considerable amount more because the system has to be more robust to endure long enough to give downed pilots a fighting chance at survival. It’s just a shame a British company couldn’t have developed this.


Yeah I agree, it’s not the most complex device to make, rather simple really.


Sadly it was but undercut by overseas competitors.

Dave Anderson

About time, good news, I’ve had one for the outdoors for some years

Daniele Mandelli

Photo looks like my Karcher Patio cleaner.


Can it be surpressed if ejecting over hostile territory (or would it simply not carried)

Pretty much standard kit for all recreational boater’s going offshore or when hiking in remote areas in Oz. Great kit

Alan Garner

Fairly redundant should the UK be fighting alone given that we rely entirely on the US for wartime SAR capability.

Daniele Mandelli

True Alan, but MoD are trying to change that.

We were trialling CSAR with the RAF Regiment deployed on 28 Squadron Merlins years back. The role of JPR has now passed to the RM of 42 Maritime Ops Commando using the Merlins of the CHF, a det of which will deploy with the QEC when she deploys.

Or maybe they might fly from the recently announce Littoral Support Ships.

Hardly USAF / USN / USSOC standards I admit, lacking in AAR, weaponry and other kit but at least we are making steps in the right direction.

Alan Garner

42 Cdo limited capability won’t allow for operations in a non permissive environment, sadly.

Chris H

So this piece of kit talks to satellites does it? Call me an old cynic but how useful indeed for the Israelis, and anyone prepared to pay for it, to know exactly where every one of our military aircraft is when in the air. Sorry but while I know the Israelis are very good at military equipment they are a foreign power, are no friends of the UK outside selling us kit and do all they can to look after Israeli military interests. For which also read US interests. Has no one asked the questions what data does this kit… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

It is a fair comment, but I cannot believe the boffins at Cheltenham would not have not given it the once over looking for opsec issues.

David Johnson

“activates on ejection”

Evan P

David, you still wouldn’t want the enemy to be able to work out where downed pilots are, especially if it’s a country or group more inclined to torturing their prisoners.

Chris H

@David Johnson – Well yes of course that is what they say will happen and you believe that if you want. My background tells me to be suspicious of a foreign sourced piece of kit that communicates with a satellite network over which we have no control and the data within it available to a foreign power.

As I said – the Israelis are not our friends as history has shown except when they are selling us kit (which may indeed be very good). We must always assume the worst case scenario.


Chris H these are not going to be switched on whilst the jet is in the air! They will be set to automatically activate if a pilot ejects. This is a civilian system that the UK is accessing and will be monitored by the MCA. Clearly this is intended for Peace time or low intensity conflict operations, if we are up against a peer rival then crews will use something like the AN/PRC-112. That or this will have some form of war mode, hardly something that the MOD is going to go into detail about. The reality is the modern… Read more »

Chris H

@Fedaykin – Forgive me if I don’t engage with someone who calls my asking a question ‘frankly paranoid nonsense’.


@Chris H of course that is your prerogative. I will still point out it is paranoid nonsense, actually I held back a bit as I know you are a sensitive soul.

I will continue to happily point out your more silly mutterings here as is my prerogative…


BTW, if the picture on the header is of the actual device, then there is an “Off” selection so you can turn the thing off. I am assuming that the pilot that ejected will have access to the device. If so, then the pilot has the option to have the device turned off until he is in a safe area.

On another note, considering how HMG has treated the state of Israel, is it any wonder why Israel is no friend to the UK? You reap what you sow.


As far as I am aware we have normal diplomatic relations with Israel. The The UK Government’s own mission statement regarding Israel reads: “We promote Britain’s security, prosperity and well-being, and regional peace, through partnership with Israel”

This narrative about Israel from some is tiresome.


I do agree with you on this.


I read on flightglobal that Bristow is warning it may have to go into chapter 11 to save it from bankruptcy. They have a PFI contract for UK Search & Rescue. They have been hit by the downturn in the oil industry.
I said at the time it was unwise to take SAR away from the Armed Forces & give it to a civilian contractor, but even I did not think it would be at risk this quickly.

Chris H

@JohnHartley – That is some tenuous link John. Bristows being SAR and this device being SAR? But I guess you have made a shed load of cash given your ability to forecast issues (mainly US based) in the oil industry? Bristow in the UK is legally, financially and in cash flow terms (apart from dividends paid to the USA) a separate entity so would not necessarily be affected. It is an Aberdeen based company and has been doing UK SAR for some 24 years. The SAR deal itself is an operating contract not a PFI. But opponents of private enterprise… Read more »


Time will tell.