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Demonstration of applied solutions to enhance border and external security


Consortia are invited to propose demonstration of high (6-8) Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) systems applied in the context of border and external security. (TRL: please see General Annex G.)

Proposals should be submitted under only one of the following sub-topics:

  • Sub-topic 1: [2018] Remotely piloted aircrafts and underwater autonomous platforms to be used from on-board offshore patrol vessels

Remotely piloted autonomous platforms of all kinds should demonstrate innovative capacities for land border and coast surveillance. Underwater autonomous platforms are also of interest for choke points surveillance (i.e. a port entrance.)

Research on artificial intelligence is likely to facilitate the transition from innovation to operation. Such platforms play an important role in facilitating long range and persistent surveillance in wide maritime areas, complementing operation from offshore patrol vessels. Improving the cost effectiveness, reliability and availability of such platforms, either by increasing the performance of existing technologies or by developing innovative concepts of operation, would notably contribute to better situational awareness at the tactical level beyond coastal waters (up to 200 nautical miles), while reducing risks during search and rescue missions, including launch and recovery phases, even in adverse sea and weather conditions. Proposals should aim at improved cost effectiveness, in particular through the remote operation of sensors mounted on aerial platforms (including optionally and remotely piloted) and by improving the on-board processing of payload data, while minimizing the data transmission to the ground segment.

  • Sub-topic 2: [2019] New concepts for decision support and information systems

Information systems to support border and external security may combine a broad variety of data from very different sources, including personal data. Innovative solutions are needed to ensure the interoperability of surveillance systems, and the availability of information for maritime border surveillance coming from the area of operations in standardized formats, when and where it is needed, thus at enhancing situation awareness at strategic level (in National Coordination Centres), but also at tactical level (with assets deployed under the frame of surveillance operations). This would allow faster reaction to incidents in the maritime domain, and a reduction in the death toll at sea. Proposals should aim at optimize the exploitation of data for their specific use in surveillance is currently embryonic, and needs to take better account of the specific characteristics of the domain, with a view to provide the needed information reducing redundancies.

  • Sub-topic 3: [2020] Improved systems for the detection, identification and tracking of small boats
  • Sub-topic: [2018-2019-2020] Open

Proposals addressing other issues relevant to this challenge, based on a sound rationale and with the active involvement of a large number of relevant practitioners are invited to apply under this sub-topic (see eligibility and admissibility conditions.)

Proposals submitted under this topic should be coordinated by a competent authority under civilian authority and command, nationally identified as specialised border or coast guard, or border police force.

They should clearly demonstrate how they complement and do not overlap with actions undertaken in the Preparatory Action on Defence Research under topic PADR-US-01-2017: Technological demonstrator for enhanced situational awareness in a naval environment.

Certain operational costs are excluded from eligible costs (see eligibility and admissibility conditions.)

Proposals should lead to solutions developed in compliance with European societal values, fundamental rights and applicable legislation, including in the area of free movement of persons, privacy and protection of personal data.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of about EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Solutions at high Technological Readiness Levels (TRL; please see General Annex G) to enhance border and external security do exist, but if they are not to remain unused they need to be demonstrated in the context of actual operations or exercises for validation by practitioners.

Medium term:

  • Innovative solutions validated and qualified in the real, operational environment of civilian missions, defined in detail according to specifications set by the practitioners (authorities in charge of border surveillance and coast guard functions) and tailored to effectively meet their requirements within civilian missions.
  • Plans for the quick take up of qualified systems at EU level.
  • Plans for transnational procurement strategies.

Long term:

  • Improved cost-effectiveness and efficiency of systems for the prevention of cross border crime and for border surveillance for civilian purposes.
  • European standards for interoperable systems.
  • Substantial and tangible improvement of (maritime) situational awareness and reaction capability, as appropriate in surveillance for civilian purposes, fight against crime, and search and rescue missions by the National and European Border and Coast Guards.
  • Contribution to the concept of Common Application of Surveillance Tools, as for the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) and to its interoperability with other systems.