Thales and Aerovisión present FRONTEX with an unmanned aerial vehicle for border control

16 Jan­u­ary 2012

• The UAV Ful­mar was the only ful­ly Span­ish mod­el pre­sent­ed to the Euro­pean agency for bor­der con­trol pur­pos­es.
• It is fit­ted with sur­veil­lance sys­tems that sup­ply real-time images and video and oth­er types of infor­ma­tion for the effi­cient con­trol of mar­itime areas.

Thales and Aero­visión have giv­en a real flight demon­stra­tion of the UAV Ful­mar (Unmanned Aer­i­al Vehi­cle) for the Euro­pean Agency Fron­tex, the organ­ism in charge of coor­di­nat­ing the bor­der con­trol oper­a­tions of the Euro­pean Union mem­ber states.
Ful­mar is a whol­ly Span­ish project that is a glob­al solu­tion that uses the Mar­itime Sur­veil­lance Sys­tems of Thales­Group. These sys­tems sup­ply images and video in real time and inte­grate the infor­ma­tion in a secu­ri­ty sys­tem, as is the case with bor­der con­trol. Such sys­tems facil­i­tate sur­veil­lance and con­trol of mar­itime and bor­der traf­fic and can pro­vide ines­timable sup­port to res­cue oper­a­tions.
The UAV Ful­mar is a small-size mod­el (3.1 metres) weigh­ing only 19 kilos that can fly at a height of 3,000 metres and achieve 150 kilo­me­tres per hour, with an 8‑hour flight range that would allow it to fly up to 800 kilo­me­tres with­out hav­ing to refu­el.
The demon­stra­tion for bor­der author­i­ties organ­ised by Fron­texwas held at the Aktio Air Base in the Greek local­i­ty of Pre­veza. For three days, sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al UAV man­u­fac­tur­ers per­formed test flights patrolling the west coast of Greece, with Ful­mar being the only Span­ish prod­uct to demon­strate its capac­i­ties in a mar­ket dom­i­nat­ed by unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cles from the Unit­ed States and Israel.
The demon­stra­tion con­firmed the ease of instal­la­tion and fly­ing of the UAV Ful­mar, as it does not require a run­way for take­off and land­ing giv­en that it is launched from a cat­a­pult and is recov­ered by means of an impact-absorb­ing net. Both ele­ments are sim­ple to install in a short time and in dif­fer­ent places. This facil­i­tates the assem­bly and han­dling of the sys­tem and dif­fer­en­ti­ates it from oth­er mod­els on the mar­ket. A demon­stra­tion of the UAV Ful­mar flight can be viewed here (video).

Inte­gra­tion with mar­itime sur­veil­lance sys­tems
In the demon­stra­tion for bor­der author­i­ties organ­ised by Fron­tex, the UAV Ful­mar flew for two hours, detect­ing the infor­ma­tion sent in from the dif­fer­ent points estab­lished for the flight and send­ing images and video in real time that were viewed by the atten­dants at the ground base. The Ful­mar thus dis­played its capac­i­ty to inte­grate with mar­itime sur­veil­lance sys­tems such as radars, a cru­cial aspect in this type of unmanned aer­i­al sur­veil­lance sys­tem.

At this event Thales and Aero­visión have demon­strat­ed that the Ful­mar is a com­pet­i­tive solu­tion that can be adapt­ed to dif­fer­ent needs and can inte­grate with oth­er sys­tems to pro­vide a glob­al solu­tion. Ful­mar is cur­rent­ly oper­a­tive in Malaysia, where it per­forms bor­der sur­veil­lance tasks in the Strait of Malac­ca.
Thales is at the fore­front of inno­va­tion in Sys­tems for Unmanned Aer­i­al Vehi­cles (UAS) and is a leader and strate­gic part­ner in impor­tant inter­na­tion­al pro­grammes in avion­ics, sen­sors and mis­sion sys­tems for UAS.

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