Frontex: equipment needs for 2023 include “lethal and non-lethal weapons”

The decision of the board of directors adopting the rules relating to technical equipment, including the minimum number of technical equipment (MNITE) and the pool of rapid reaction equipment (RREP) specifies the equipment needs of the agency and the selection criteria, equipment provided by Member States to be used “as a last resort”.


the MNITE and RREP lists have grown alongside the expansion of Frontex’s mandate, staffing and budget under the 2016 and 2019 regulations. The MNITE for 2023 now includes lethal and non-lethal weapons (ranging from 279 to 302 units in different “deployment periods”).

Under the heading of cross-border crime, drug and explosive detectors, borescopes, cell phone and satellite detectors, jammer detectors and radiation detectors are all listed, along with light UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). pilot, i.e. the drones).

Under personal equipment, with the exception of weapons, smart cameras (146 to be provided by Member States during each deployment period) and radio equipment (two units to be provided by Member States during deployment four to eight), Frontex expects to use its own equipment.

The agency can now use its own technical equipment, jointly owned, acquired or rented, as well as equipment acquired by the Member States co-financed under the Homeland Security Fund (ISF). Within the framework of the policy for the selection of technical equipment (Article 3 of the decision), offers of equipment from Member States can only be considered “in exceptional circumstances and as a last resort”.

A call for tenders for a €200,000 contract for the supply of belts, accessories and truncheons has been launched published by Frontex on the public procurement website (TED) of the European institutions in March, with the deadline for receipt of tenders being April 18. The call for tenders specifies that these belts, which constitute “part of the non-lethal weapons which will be used by the officers of the permanent corps”, will be used at the external borders of the Schengen area and in neighboring countries.

It does not appear to provide for the possibility of further use, although if the EU enters into a status agreement with a state that does not share a border with the EU, this would be permitted under the 2019 regulations.

The belts will include tactical protective gloves, goggles, torch, metal handcuffs, elastic rubber baton, telescopic batons and a “multi-tool” to include:

  • Pliers with wire cutter
  • Straight blade knife
  • Serrated knife
  • Saw, for cutting wood
  • Scissors
  • Wood/metal file
  • Screwdriver (Phillips type and flat head type).

A separate tender for the supply of binoculars closed on March 23, 2022.

According to the board decision, Member States are supposed to provide all “off-road” mobility and all car diagnostic tools (to detect cross-border crime). The maritime surveillance vessels will all come from Member States, while the remotely piloted aircraft systems will all be provided by Frontex. Other surveillance aircraft will come from both Frontex and Member States. 100% of equipment for return operations will be provided by Frontex.

The responsibility lies more with the member states of the RREP, which covers patrol cars and boats, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and vehicles equipped with thermal cameras (and sometimes also radar).

A separate decision made additions to the Technical Equipment requirements for 2022, adding a new paragraph to include registering Technical Equipment in the pool using Opera Evolution. Member States’ equipment, co-financed under ISF actions, will be made available to Frontex under the MNITE for a maximum of four months, although States may decide to deploy it for longer.


Picture: Rocher Cohen, CC BY-SA 2.0

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