02:23 GMT +317 October 2018
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    Frontex Starts Testing Drones to Monitor EU External Borders

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Border and Coast Guard Agency said on Thursday that it has started testing Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in Italy, Greece and Portugal as part of a border monitoring mission.

    "This week, Frontex, the European Border and Coast 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 European Border and Coast Guard Agency, also known as Frontex, said in a statement.

    READ MORE: EU Member States Agree on Juncker's Proposal to Strengthen Frontex — Merkel

    Frontex will also test unmanned aircraft in several operational situations, including sea surveillance, detection of ships suspected of criminal activities such as smuggling of weapons and drugs as well as the support of search and rescue operations, according to the statement.

    The RPAS being tested by the agency are equipped with thermal cameras and radars. In Portugal, Frontex said it was using smaller unmanned aircraft to monitor the North Atlantic Ocean and share this data in real time.

    The testing in Greece and Italy is expected to be completed this year, the agency added.

    Related:

    EU Member States Agree on Juncker's Proposal to Strengthen Frontex - Merkel
    Over 380,000 Illegal Migrants Came to Europe in 2016 - Frontex
    Frontex to Hire 200 Staff in 2017 Bringing Total to 600 - Press Release
    Tags:
    aircraft, border, rescue operation, Frontex, EU, Portugal, Greece
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