The 2nd Infantry Brigade of the Defense Forces supported the Police and Border Guard Board by monitoring Estonia’s southern border with a Stream C unmanned aircraft system (UAS), produced by Threod Systems to enable the detection of illegal border crossing attempts.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Defense Forces launched Threod’s unmanned aircraft near Antsla to conduct surveillance rounds over the closed southern Estonian border due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The flight was conducted in order to test the ability of the Defense Forces, the Police and Border Guard Board to share air footage and act upon the data gathered.

“We provide professional assistance to the Police and Border Guard Board to support border guards at the southern border in an emergency situation when the internal border is closed,” said Major Robert Kase, Staff Officer of the 2nd Infantry Brigade. “We use Threod’s UAS for observation flights and it’s not much different from what can be done with an airplane or a helicopter, the only difference is that the pilot is on the ground.”

In order to carry out the operation, a mobile communication center had been set up in the vicinity of the airport in the village of Lusti, from where the aircraft was launched. Then the image and video data gathered by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was analyzed and processed.

“We use drones in training as much as possible,” Kase explained. “When the weather allows, we are in the air and we take the maximum out of this tool. The aircraft has been manufactured in Estonia by Threod Systems and the Defense Forces have obtained a certain number of them.”

The Stream C UAV is able to ascend to a height of over three kilometres, has a petrol engine and can stay in the air for up to eight hours, sending real-time video stream to the control center that is over a hundred kilometres away.

“It can be used in many ways, but the main use is to find your opponent’s activity in the field,” said Major Kase. “At the same time, we can also use it to observe and control our units. The soldier is no longer in the forest with binoculars, but he has an aircraft above with which he looks from and the picture is better.”