Advantages and disadvantages of some unmanned aerial vehicles deployed in maritime surveillance


  • Sanja Bauk
  • Nexhat Kapidani
  • Luis Sousa
  • Žarko Lukšić
  • Agim Spuža


The paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of some unmanned aerial vehicles used for maritime surveillance. As examples, the Zephyr pseudo-satellite, as well as the AR5 and the AR3 medium altitude unmanned aircraft have been presented. A high-level Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis is applied in this regard, as a tool to help assess the potential benefits of UAVs in the current maritime surveillance context. Strengths as lightness, possibility of manual launching, low energy consumption, lower price in comparison to satellites, high seeing, sensing and communication features, capacity of both line of sight (LoS) and beyond line of sight (BLoS) operations, large coverage, and durability of flight and like are highlighted. Threats such as high risk to operations due to severe weather conditions, loss of human control over the systems due to their high degree of autonomy, potential users’ reluctance to accept high-risk innovation and similar are agued, as well. In addition, weaknesses as complexity of the systems and the requirement of highly skilled personnel for these aircraft design, production, operation and maintenance, along with opportunities like lower costs, lower ecological and logistics footprints and higher efficiency are also taken into consideration. The appropriateness of these advanced aerial vehicles for monitoring and securing sea borders has been intertwined within the context.