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Greece Will Produce Drones for Border Surveillance, Military Payloads

Αssociated Press

FILE- Police drone operator Thanassis Kyriakidis pilots a drone during a patrol at Evros river, near the village of Feres, at the Greek -Turkish border, Greece, Friday, May 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

ATHENS -- Relying on drones from Israel and the United States, Greece has approved production of its first done – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – through a team from the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) and three universities.

A report in Turkey's pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah cited Greek media sites and said the drones use would include aerial patrols of the seas, with the Aegean used for more than six years by refugees and migrants coming to Greek islands from Turkey, where they had gone fleeing their homelands.

Turkey has been building drones too, for domestic use and exports.

The report said a meeting was held at EAB and included officials from the Ministry of Finance, and the universities of Thessaloniki, Thrace and Thessaly who will do the research and development of the drones.

It's being named Archytas – for the ancient Greek philosopher, politician and engineer Archytas Tarantinos – who the paper said was known as the inventor of the world's first autonomous flying machine.

The program is to design and build a vertical take-off/landing (VTOL) UAV and overseen by the Ministry of Defense and create a  lightweight drone that also deliver military payloads.

Because of its design, the drone will be able to reach remote, isolated islands or land areas, or land on the decks of large ships, giving it a “unique operational capacity and flexibility,” it was said.

Requirements would include surveillance of land and sea borders, and surveillance of the sea and “enemy forces,” although it wasn't said if that meant Turkey, which claims Greek waters and has been constantly provoking.

The news reports highlighted that the drone can also be used for civil protection purposes such as forest surveillance, early fire warning, surveillance and assessment of other natural disasters and commercial uses.

The New Democracy government earlier said drones would also be used on the land border along the Evros River with Turkey to look for refugees and migrants who might try to sneak across an area where a wall was extended to keep them out.