This week, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, has begun testing the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in Greece, Italy and Portugal to monitor the European Union’s external borders.Frontex is exploring the surveillance capability of the medium altitude long endurance RPAS and evaluating the related cost efficiency and endurance. The agency will test the unmanned aircraft in several operational situations. These include surveillance of the sea, support of Search and Rescue operations, detection of vessels suspected of criminal activities, such as drug and weapon smuggling and information sharing with multiple users in real time.
In Greece, the trial that started this week is supported by the Hellenic Coast Guard, in cooperation with the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority and Air Force. In Italy, the trial, which is in its last phase of preparations, will be supported by Polizia di Stato and Guardia di Finanza.