Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, is currently in the final stage of testing aerostat systems for maritime surveillance in Greece together with Hellenic authorities.
During the trial, the aerostats have been patrolling 24/7 in the vicinity of Alexandroupoli and on the island of Limnos, at various altitudes and in different weather conditions. Frontex examined how they could be used to detect unauthorised border crossings, support search and rescue operations and combat cross-border crime.
The aerostats are equipped with sensors, electro-optical and thermal cameras, as well as radar and automatic identification system receivers. Using satellite communication and a remote information portal, the situational picture at sea can be broadcasted in real time to Frontex and national authorities, allowing for an immediate reaction.
This four month-trial, which will be completed in November, is being carried out in partnership with the Hellenic Coast Guard and other Greek authorities. The technology used in the trial is supported entirely by European providers. Frontex is developing modern and efficient technological solutions for border control to support EU Member States. The agency continues to test a variety of technologies, including seamless border crossing systems, advanced surveillance and search and rescue platforms, as well as sensors and technologies for the disruption of criminal activities at EU borders.