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OPARUS (Open Architecture for UAV-based Surveillance System) (topic : SEC-2009.3.4.1 Continuity, coverage, performances, secure datalink)

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Taking a closer look at Europe's borders

EU researchers have developed a border surveillance system incorporating the operation of pilotless planes over both land and sea borders. This initiative will help to prevent unauthorised border crossings.

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In order to ensure the security of Europeans within the Schengen area, the countries involved have very tight controls at their common external borders. However, new threats, such as illegal immigration, smuggling and terrorism, are on the increase. Therefore, new capabilities have been put forward to monitor Europe's borders by means of an unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) system. The 'Open architecture for UAV-based surveillance system' (OPARUS) project, funded by the EU, set out to address the challenges of using such a system for border surveillance missions. Initially, the project compiled a complete description of end-user requirements. In addition, the existing relevant legislation and technologies were listed. Following the validation of needs and tools, the OPARUS project proposed its first technical solutions. In the second project stage, three validation scenarios were selected as representative of the most problematic regions for unmanned aircraft surveillance. These regions were also hot spots for illegal activities along Europe's borders, especially illegal immigration. For each scenario and mission, the architecture proposed by the OPARUS project comprised different combinations of platforms, sensors, data-link configurations and communication networks as well as ground control stations. Based on the results, the project's final validated architecture was devised. The UAV system proposed by OPARUS offers border agencies across Europe a platform to improve on surveillance effectiveness while minimising its cost. In the longer term, and with further changes and developments, even greater flexibility and more enhanced detection capabilities will be possible.

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