With high-altitude platforms, the EU border agency aims to close the gap between its planes, drones and satellites.
Frontex could in future have high-flying platforms deployed for surveillance from the stratosphere. In this way, the European Border Agency wants to close the gap between aircraft and satellites, which are already used for border surveillance. A corresponding research project is to begin on 1 October 2022 and last 36 months, the EU Commission announced in its answer to a parliamentary question. Accordingly, the EU financial support amounts to around €5.8 million.
The EU Commission had already published a call for tenders for so-called high-altitude platforms working on behalf of Frontex a year ago. Now the Commission has published details of the plans on its website. Accordingly, the contract for an „advanced surveillance platform to improve the EURopean Multi Authority BordeR Security efficiency and cooperation“ (EURMARS) was awarded to a consortium of 16 companies, ministries, authorities and institutes from 12 Member States. „Border surveillance: Frontex installs cameras in the stratosphere“ weiterlesen
Various manufacturers are developing balloons for flight in the stratosphere. At lower altitudes, the German armed forces and Frontex, for example, rely on tethered airships
Asman Technology, a company specializing in aerial reconnaissance, is reportedly planning to send balloons with surveillance sensor technology into the stratosphere. The French manufacturer is currently exhibiting a corresponding prototype under the name Forests at the Eurosatory military trade fair in Paris. It is to fly at altitudes of up to 25 kilometers, covering some 200,000 square kilometers. The endurance is said to be several months.
Asman Technology states that the stratospheric balloon’s payload is 100 kilograms; in the future, this could even be scaled up to five times that amount. The sensors carried are modular; in addition to electro-optical devices or a FLIR radar, the balloon can also carry communications equipment. The information is to be transmitted to a ground station at a high data rate. „Military and border police: New age for surveillance balloons“ weiterlesen
With its aerial surveillance, from space and soon possibly from the stratosphere, the EU border agency is becoming a quasi-secret service
Twice in the past six years, the EU has drastically expanded Frontex’s powers. In 2016, the agency was allowed to purchase its own equipment, and first began leasing its own aircraft. As a „Frontex Aerial Surveillance Service“ (FASS), they observe the central Mediterranean, the so-called Balkan route and the Aegean. Frontex is thus saying goodbye to the principle of always borrowing personnel and equipment for its missions from the member states.This gives the agency considerably more creative power with less control over its activities at the same time.
The FASS flights can be requested by any EU member state with an external border. The decision whether to deploy lies with Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri. Italy first made use of this in 2017, followed by the first deployment at a land border in Croatia in 2018. In the meantime, FASS aircraft are also flying in Montenegro, Greece and other countries. „Frontex has air superiority“ weiterlesen