The pressure on governments to monitor their borders is a hot topic. The European Border Guard is charged with monitoring and protecting its (and the EU’s) borders from people trafficking, smuggling, illegal immigration, arms smuggling, goods smuggling, combating terrorism as well as monitoring all sea, land and air security. It’s a big operation and the two ES15s are an important tool in carrying out this vital task in an efficient manner.

People don’t look up unless they are alerted. It’s obvious that the quieter the aircraft the less opportunity to alert those on the ground to the fact that they are being watched and monitored. Operating at 7,000 feet makes the ES15 impossible to hear and if it is spotted then the profile is that of a glider. The ES15 doesn’t attract attention which makes it ideal for this line of work.

There were a number of other aircraft in the evaluation including twin-engine fixed wing and helicopters. Ease of operation was another major factor in choosing the ES15. Pilot training is less onerous versus jet and twin-engined aircraft and with an hourly operating cost being less than a third of a twin engine aircraft it means that for the same budget the aircraft can provide an eye in the sky for longer periods.

The European Border Guard required the ability to provide imagery in real time to teams on the ground who can then direct forces to certain areas. The ES15 has a design that enables clean feeds of data which are not hampered by excessive heat from exhausts or engines. With multiple hard-points for antennas and space for power and back up power the Payload requirements from the European Border Guard matched the ES15 perfectly.