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Frontex tests border surveillance drones: €6.5m for Leonardo and Israel Aerospace Industries
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Frontex has recently signed two contracts for tests on border surveillance drones with the companies Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica) and Israel Aerospace Industries, worth €1.7 million and €4.75 million respectively.

According to information provided to German MEP Sabine Lösing (of the GUE/NGL group) by the European Commission:

"[Frontex] plans to carry out a maritime border surveillance trial with long endurance remotely piloted aircraft systems in the course of 2018. The trial forms part of the assessment and evaluation of such platforms for border control purposes with a specific focus on their ability to deliver surveillance services in a regular, reliable, and cost-efficient way. The trial will be carried out under the responsibility of Greece and Italy."


"Leonardo S.p.a will provide a small medium altitude long endurance remotely piloted aircraft (payload of at least 100 kilograms). The value of the contract with this provider is EUR 1 697 000. Israel Aerospace Industries will provide a medium altitude long endurance remotely piloted aircraft (payload of at least 150 kilograms). The value of the contract with that provider is EUR 4 750 000."

The Commission also provided information on the use of Predator drones in the context of the EUNAVFOR MED (Operation Sophia) mission in the Mediterranean:

"Unmanned aerial vehicles have been provided by Italy and funded in common by Member States for a trial period of 240 hours that ended on 24 May 2018."

See: Question for written answer to the Commission (EP, 30 April 2018, link) and: Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the European Commission (EP, 13 September 2018, link)

Further reading

EU seeks autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control centres" for border control (November 2015)

Frontex presses on with aerial surveillance projects (August 2014)

Eurodrones, Inc. (February 2014)

Seeing through trees: Frontex commissions study on "solutions for under-foliage detection" (February 2014)

Frontex cancels surveillance plane contract due to lack of interest from companies (October 2013)


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