FRONTEX airplane surveillance of Channel and North Sea starting soon

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Xan
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FRONTEX airplane surveillance of Channel and North Sea starting soon

Post by Xan »

Spotting opportunity:

From what I hear, from 1 December onward a FRONTEX (https://frontex.europa.eu/) airplane will be deployed for surveillance of irregular migration via the Channel and North Sea. The airplane will be surveilling a long stretch of French, Belgian, Dutch and possibly German waters.

May also show up on ADSBEx

(please refrain from turning this into a political debate)

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sn26567
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Re: FRONTEX airplane surveillance of Channel and North Sea starting soon

Post by sn26567 »

Xan wrote: 29 Nov 2021, 18:45 From 1 December onward a FRONTEX (https://frontex.europa.eu/) airplane will be deployed for surveillance of irregular migration via the Channel and North Sea. The airplane will be surveilling a long stretch of French, Belgian, Dutch and possibly German waters.
Which type of aircraft? Where will that plane be based?
André
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Xan
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Re: FRONTEX airplane - reply of the EU Commission

Post by Xan »

sn26567 wrote: 29 Nov 2021, 23:55 Which type of aircraft? Where will that plane be based?
I don't know which airplane they will use nor where the airplane will be stationed. On French TV I heard a French minister saying that the operation would run 24/7 but whether that is accurate I don't know either.

I looked into it and did find that last year a MEP (Member of the European Parliament) asked the EU Commission information about the types and call signs of marine and air assets of FRONTEX and if they show up on trackers (my hope may have been premature).

You can find the reply from FRONTEX, relayed via the EU Commission to the EU Parliament, here:
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/ ... N1)_XL.pdf

There also is a FRONTEX FAQ that provides some more information although in general terms only
https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex ... perations/

So, bottom line is that they don't provide details of types of aircraft, calls signs etc because it would "undermine" their "operational objectives" - which I guess makes sense. For tactical reasons whoever provides the service may decide not to display their location, but no request has been made to any flight tracker to block their real time position display (of course, if they switch off their transponder the result is the same).

On flight trackers we might get lucky, we might not, but presumably the only certain way to observe them will be a visual observation, in which case it may be advisable not to share identifiable details.

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sn26567
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Re: FRONTEX airplane - reply of the EU Commission

Post by sn26567 »

Xan wrote: 01 Dec 2021, 01:05 So, bottom line is that they don't provide details of types of aircraft, calls signs etc because it would "undermine" their "operational objectives" - which I guess makes sense. For tactical reasons whoever provides the service may decide not to display their location, but no request has been made to any flight tracker to block their real time position display (of course, if they switch off their transponder the result is the same).

On flight trackers we might get lucky, we might not, but presumably the only certain way to observe them will be a visual observation, in which case it may be advisable not to share identifiable details.
Thanks for your investigation on the matter. I guess spotters will have to find out by themselves!
André
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modeS
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Re: FRONTEX airplane surveillance of Channel and North Sea starting soon

Post by modeS »

The aircraft in question is a Bombardier Challenger 604 equipped for maritime patrol ops, operated by the Royal Danish Air Force. It positioned from AGP to LIL earlier today with flight identification DAF2495.
  • ICAO type: CL60
  • Registration: C-080
  • Transponder hexadecimal address: 45F422

Xan
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Re: FRONTEX airplane surveillance of Channel and North Sea starting soon

Post by Xan »

modeS wrote: 01 Dec 2021, 20:33 The aircraft in question is a ...
I guess that should teach me. Considering that transmigrants have cell phones and can track this airplane too if they know its identifiers, sharing the above information makes it easier for them to avoid being detected.

I for one do not think posting the information is a particularly good idea. It is not because it shows up on ADSBEx - many planes do ! - that we should identify what this particular plane does and share its identification data.

I think radar spotting, aside from being quite fascinating, also is about making aviation safer (countless examples of how radar spotting has contributed to this), not about undermining security operations (particularly from "our" side).

To each his own. But I learnt my lesson. Since I have a different opinion, I will not be posting anything about FRONTEX or other other security operations again.

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sn26567
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Re: FRONTEX airplane surveillance of Channel and North Sea starting soon

Post by sn26567 »

Don't you think that transmigrants have other ideas in mind than spotting aircraft? I'm pretty sure no one of them ever heard about the aviation24.be forum.
André
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Re: FRONTEX airplane surveillance of Channel and North Sea starting soon

Post by flightlover »

sn26567 wrote: 01 Dec 2021, 22:32 Don't you think that transmigrants have other ideas in mind than spotting aircraft? I'm pretty sure no one of them ever heard about the aviation24.be forum.
The migrants themselves might not have heard of it, but they get help from local people, payed for or not.

Xan
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Re: FRONTEX airplane surveillance of Channel and North Sea starting soon

Post by Xan »

In one form or another, I have been part of the radar spotting community since tracking websites began.

Right from the start there has been a debate about what information we should and should not share publicly, just like right from the start there has been tension about this with the authorities.

All other arguments aside, I am of the opinion that it is in our own best interest to exercise some restraint in what we share publicly if we do not want the authorities to close down the shop on us.

Data is one thing, responsible use of it another. So far governments have not been interfering but if we cannot develop our own code of conduct, at one stage this will change and governments will regulate this. And then we will all be worse off.

Last Sunday there was a meeting of the interior ministers of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany about transmigrants (FRONTEX, Europol, Eurojustice and the EU Commission were also present), following which they issued a public joint statement in which the FRONTEX plane was mentioned (the UK's interior minister had been "disinvited" after a pretty big bust-up between Macron and British PM Johnson). It has since been covered in many newspapers, the idea clearly being to make it known that a surveillance aircraft now is monitoring the channel and north sea, as part of a large scale international operation against criminal networks responsible for people smuggling.

I do not think we should publicly share detailed data that will make it easier for those criminal gangs to avoid being detected by this security operation.

Open data is a matter we should all deal with with caution. In the interest of protecting democracy, sharing too much data can actually lead to strengthening forces that undermine democracy.

At the end of the day, as a citizen we all make our choices. We also are responsible for the consequences of the choices we make. Perhaps the latter should be given some more thought.

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