The mountains of Scotland offer the more energetic amongst us a chance to see some of the most dramatic scenery anywhere in the UK. However sometimes those hill walks go badly wrong; either through bad weather, bad planning or just plain bad luck. When this happens, it inevitably results in the deployment of the highly skilled and dedicated members of Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR) to come to the rescue – and now Thales are lending a hand.
The Sophie UF2 is a long wave, soldier carried, thermal imaging target locator. Versions of the Sophie family of locators are used by the British Army and many others worldwide with over 10,000 having been sold. The Infra-Red sensor in the Sophie UF2 will help SMR locate a missing person, irrespective of it being day or night, by sensing their heat signature. The in-built GPS, Digital Compass and Laser Rangefinder will assist in providing accurate location information, all in a compact, lightweight, battery-operated, hand-held configuration.
The two Sophie units were handed over to Damon Powell and Kev Mitchell of SMR at the national training conference at Glenmore Lodge in Aviemore.
Damon said “We are very grateful to Thales for this kind donation of equipment that will assist mountain rescue volunteers searching for missing persons in the wild places of Scotland and will be especially useful in the winter months, when searches frequently take place in the hours of darkness. These outstanding pieces of equipment are a leap forward in technology available to our teams.”
Scottish Mountain Rescue is a registered charity which represents 24 mountain rescue teams across Scotland. All of their team members are volunteers who never pause for a moment’s thought when called in to action, day or night, good weather or bad. Often working alongside Police Scotland and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Search and Rescue helicopters based at Inverness and other sites around Scotland, mountain rescue volunteers save lives across Scotland.