Border Guard gets EMSA´s unmanned aircraft system

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Border Guard gets EMSA´s unmanned aircraft system

The Finnish Border Guard has received the European Maritime Safety Agency’s (EMSA) unmanned aircraft system (RPAS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) to operative use, which supports the Border Guard in coast guard functions, said Border Guard in a press release.

Coast guard functions are a broad European concept, which includes maritime safety, maritime security measures, maritime search and rescue, fisheries control, customs surveillance, general law enforcement, border surveillance as well as protection of marine environment.

The capacity of the EMSA’s RPAS is widely used in all these tasks, either directly by the Finnish Border Guard, or when assisting other authorities.

The operational focus is on the aforementioned coast guard functions on the northern Baltic Sea, mainly outside the archipelago.

The West Finland Coast Guard District and the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District plan the flights to be a part of their own operations, and the flights carried out in the Finnish airspace are led from the West Finland Coast Guard District’s command centre.

The RPAS provided by EMSA has been in operational use several times in the coast guard districts and delivers additional value to the maritime domain awareness over the area of operations.

The information delivered by the RPAS improves the coast guard districts’ maritime situation picture, contributing to a more efficient use and allocation of other on-scene assets. In addition, it is great for the Finnish Border Guard to have access to the said capacity, and to be able to further cooperation with EMSA and other countries participating in the operation.

The remote-controlled fixed-wing aircraft can operate in the air for several hours, on a broad operating area.

RPAS air operations are carried out with Textron System Aerosonde aircraft. The remote-controlled fixed-wing aircraft can operate in the air for several hours, on a broad operating area.

Similar air operations are simultaneously underway in Estonia and Latvia. EMSA offers the service to all EU countries for free. The aircraft is particularly tailored to maritime surveillance operations, including monitoring discharges from vessels, and enhancing the maritime situation picture in heavy vessel traffic sea areas like the Baltic Sea.

The aim of the operation is to improve situational awareness and the ability to respond to maritime incidents

The main goal of the Finnish Border Guard’s operation is to improve the Border Guard’s capacity in tasks relating to border security and safety and security at the sea, as well as in other coast guard functions, by utilising EMSA’s resources in the Finnish sea area, coast and archipelago.

The operation helps to form a better situational awareness concerning the open sea areas. In addition to surveillance tasks, the aim is to detect possible illegal oil discharges and cross-border-crime, for instance, as well as assist in maritime search and rescue, where necessary. The operation also improves the Finnish Border Guard’s preparedness for marine pollution response.

This year, in addition to Finland, also Estonian Navy as well as Latvian border guard authorities participate in the operation. The RPAS is based is in Estonia from where the aircraft takes off and lands, with a station installed in Finland, which enables operating within the Finnish sea area.

The Finnish Border Guard’s previous RPAS-operation was carried out in summer 2023, when experiences of the system’s suitability to Finnish sea areas were gathered.

The same system is used this year, which enables us to utilise the experiences from 2023, to develop the operating and to carry out a seamless operation in full.


1 Comment
  1. Emily123 says

    How will the use of EMSA’s RPAS by the Finnish Border Guard impact their operations in the coast guard functions mentioned in the article?

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