Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Maritime Border Security topic 1: radar systems for the surveillance of coastal and pre-frontier areas and in support of search and rescue operations

Specific challenge:

Activities in the Mediterranean Sea related to border surveillance, including fight against drug trafficking and illegal immigration as well as search-and-rescue operations require for the authorities to detect at a long distance (typically: over the horizon) the presence of small vessels. The performance of existing radar systems need to be improved to that effect, or to be combined with other technologies. The cost and power requirements of such systems need to be lowered. Their deployment must also take into account the coastal environment, and they must integrate properly in the landscape. They should interface seamlessly with existing infrastructure supporting operations undertaken, or the services provided by the CISE constituent communities.


Pre-competitive research in areas ranging from sensor design, to the analysis and design of system configuration and integration and validation by (public) authorities for target detection, identification and recognition. Projects will focus only on border surveillance and search and rescue (not defence) needs.

Expected impact:

To contribute to redress the limitations of current border surveillance systems at sea, particularly concerning the detection and tracking of small unseaworthy vessels. Impact will be benchmarked against improved capabilities to meet surveillance requirements in conditions ranging from those of the Southern Atlantic to the Greek archipelago. This topic would contribute further to the development of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) and the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) at sea. Technology provides extended coverage over the coastal marine band radars, potentially reaching pre frontier detection, thus proving appropriate for the main missions of EUROSUR1. For this reason research and innovation should focus at future seamless cooperation and interfacing with existing infrastructure supporting the CISE constituent communities. The appropriate participation of competent national authorities is necessary to better define needs.

Type of action: Research and innovation action

The output of the proposal is expected to lead to development of (a) prototype(s) up to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5; please see part G of the General Annexes.

Indicative budget: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between €4m and €8m would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

[1] The aim of EUROSUR is to reinforce the control of the Schengen external borders. EUROSUR will establish a mechanism for Member States'authorities carrying out border surveillance activities to share operational information with a view to reduce the loss of lives at sea and the number of irregular immigrants entering the EU undetected, and  increase internal security by preventing cross-border crime such trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of drugs.

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