The Icelandic Coast Guard is expected to receive an unmanned aircraft to use in collaboration with law enforcement this summer, Vísir reports. The aircraft, or drone, is equipped with radar and thermal imaging and can fly for 10 hours at a stretch.
The drone is much larger than commonly seen camera drones. Weighing 150 kilograms (330 lbs.), it has a six-metre wingspan and requires a runway to take off and land. Its flight will be controlled by coast guard staff on the ground.
The drone belongs to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), which will loan it to the Icelandic Coast Guard for two months this summer if the project is carried out. “The drone is owned by them, which means that almost all costs are incurred by that organization. Member countries can get them for use in their own territories and thus we are preparing to get such a tool for a pilot project this summer for law enforcement,” stated Auðunn Kristinsson, project manager at the coast guard.
Wind and low temperatures (which can cause the aircraft to ice up) are the main factors which could interfere with the drone’s operation. The pilot project would be carried out to determine whether the aircraft can operate in Icelandic weather conditions.