Advanced Low Flying Aircrafts Detection and Tracking



Protecting European borders against drug trafficking is crucial, which is currently aggravated by the increasing use of small aircraft that allows for almost undetected border crossings, especially coastal borders. Therefore, a system is needed that can add to existing surveillance means and significantly increases the detection probability, particularly for small aircraft. Moreover a prediction of the landing or dropping zone of the aircraft is required.The ALFA (Advanced Low Flying Aircrafts Detection and Tracking) surveillance system, to be developed within the framework of this project, is offering these capabilities. It will bridge the existing capability gap of current operational surveillance systems for border control.The main objective of the project is the development of a system for timely detection, classification and understanding of the intentions of suspected air targets. The system will also provide a prediction of the landing site or dropping zone. ALFA will contribute to the following EU strategic goals:

  • Increasing the EU internal security by the reduction of cross border crime
  • Interdiction of drug trafficking
  • Assist the prosecution of drug trafficking criminals
  • Confiscation of drugs and aircraft
  • Interdiction of weapon and illicit substance trafficking

 Border security is obviously a critical topic for all EU Member states, especially for those countries with external land and maritime borders. The ALFA project is expected to increase surveillance capabilities contributing to the prevention of cross border crimes, in particular in terms of reduction of the traffic of drugs, weapons and illicit substances. It focuses on the improvement of the skills for combating drug smugglers that exploit a new modus operandi for crossing borders undetected using small low flying aircraft loaded with drugs. This situation is a global issue, but it has been identified as a major obstacle to combat drug smuggling entering through the south coast of Spain and Portugal. According to the intended objectives, the impact of ALFA project will be measured in accordance to its ability to:

  • contribute further to the development of EUROSUR and
  • complement existing surveillance tools and strategies,
  • be adaptable (the system itself and the developed technologies) in other missions/area of interest.

 The consortium of the ALFA project brings together a European team of recognized organizations from various backgrounds, making it well-positioned to achieve its objectives. All in all there are 9 partners from 6 different European countries including 3 industrial partners, 1 SME, 1 university, 2 research institutions and 2 government agencies. 


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