launch of rescue draft

CLS and TEKEVER, a European drone manufacturer have signed a new contract with the European Maritime Safety Agency for maritime surveillance by remotely piloted aircrafts

This innovative contract includes the deployment of lifeboats and many new sensors.

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has awarded a new contract to CLS, a French Space Agency subsidiary, and TEKEVER, a European drone manufacturer, for remotely piloted aircraft surveillance of European waters.

Through a four-year contract with maximum budget of €30M, EMSA is replacing a previous contract signed in 2018 for flights beyond visual line of sight by adding a new rescue capability: CLS and TEKEVER have added a new device to the maritime patrol version of their remotely piloted aircraft, able to deploy rescue boats for up to 8 people. The device also features Artificial Intelligence that calculates the best time to release the lifeboat to get as close as possible to the ship or person in distress.

EMSA is facilitating increased collaboration between European countries by enabling the deployment of regional operations and in doing so enhancing the effectiveness of surveillance over European waters.

The collaboration between CLS-TEKEVER consortium (named REACT) and EMSA is already rooted in a strong history through several drone operations since 2018. Totaling no less than 1200 flight hours on the counter and nearly 250 missions over 4 years.

These flights have established the strong utility of remotely piloted aircraft for maritime surveillance and safety in European waters, environmental protection (detection of oil pollution, potential identification of polluters, and support for the fight against illegal dumping), fisheries control, the fight against illegal fishing and general maritime law enforcement.

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Civilian drones remarkable for their skills

civilian drones skills


A new rescue capability

Deploying a boat of this size by remotely piloted aircraft is a real first in Europe. This new capability has been fully demonstrated during search and rescue exercises. The aircraft’s onboard sensors allow the detection of survivors, which is the starting point for calculating the best drop point without any human intervention. The onboard AI allows the deployment of the liferaft at a distance close enough, but certain enough to optimize the chances of rescue.


Nadia MaarefNadia Maaref, Director of Maritime Security at CLS:

“CLS has helped save more than 50,000 lives in over 30 years of activity through our contract to operate the French COSPAS-SARSAT MCC (Mission Control Center). This experience has led us to propose to EMSA a support to the rescue missions of the coast guards of the Member States. Since 2017, we have been using our remotely piloted aircrafts (RPAS) in missions commissioned by many European actors. When it comes to fighting illegal fishing, trafficking or pollution, RPAS are an essential complementary tool to the satellite services we provide to maritime authorities. With this new capability, our UAVs complete the arsenal of safety at sea that we offer. We are very proud to serve a European body like EMSA, which is at the cutting edge of technology. This renewed trust is a guarantee of the state-of-the-art of our solutions and of the reliability of our operations.”


deployment of lifeboats by drones


Ricardo MendesRicardo Mendes, TEKEVER’s CEO:

“We’ve consistently and successfully tested the TEKEVER AR5’s new Lifesaver capability, by deploying life rafts with very high precision in a fully automated process. This new capability, that will already be available in upcoming contracts, allows us to provide a first response in emergency situations. For the first time, and beyond detecting people in distress, we can now immediately do something to help them. This directly supports our mission of making the sea safer.”, said Ricardo Mendes, TEKEVER’s CEO.


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CLS Collecte Localisation Satellites logoCLS (Collecte Localisation Satellites)

CLS is a global company and pioneer provider of monitoring and surveillance solutions for the Earth, created in 1986. We are subsidiary of the French Space Agency (CNES) and CNP, an investment firm. Our mission is to create innovative space-based solutions to understand and protect our planet and to manage its resources sustainably. CLS employs 900 people at our headquarters in Toulouse (France) and in 34 other sites around the world.

The company works in five strategic markets:

  • sustainable fisheries management,
  • environmental monitoring,
  • maritime surveillance,
  • fleet management,
  • and energy & infrastructures.

CLS processes data from 100,000 beacons per month (such as drifting buoys, animal tags, VMS transponders, & LRIT tracking) and observes the oceans and inland waters (more than 20 instruments onboard satellites daily deliver information to CLS on the world’s seas and oceans). In addition, we monitor land and sea activities by satellite (nearly 10,000 radar images and several hundred drone flights are processed each year). The CLS Group had revenue of nearly 140 million Euros in 2020. Committed to a sustainable planet, the company works every day for the Earth, from Space.

Committed to a sustainable planet, the company daily works for the Earth, from Space.



CNES (Centre National d’Études Spatiales) is the government agency responsible for shaping and implementing French space policy in Europe. It designs and puts satellites into orbit and invents the space systems of tomorrow; it promotes the emergence of new services useful in everyday life. Founded in 1961, CNES has developed major space projects, launchers, and satellites and is the industry’s natural partner for promoting innovation. The agency has nearly 2,500 employees passionate about space and its infinite, innovative fields of application. They work in five areas: the Ariane project, science, observation, telecommunications, and defense. CNES is a major player in technological innovation, economic development, and France’s industrial policy. It also forges scientific partnerships and is involved in many international cooperative endeavors. France, represented by CNES, is the main contributor to the European Space Agency (ESA).


CNP is an investment firm founded by Mr. Albert Frère and exclusively managed by the Frère family. CNP invests its permanent capital for control or joint-control of European industry leaders and acts as an active partner to drive sustainable value creation alongside the founders, management and families it associates with. Together with GBL, CNP is one of the 2 pillars of Groupe Frère that manages net assets of approximately € 5.5Bn.


Tekever logoTekever

TEKEVER’s unmanned systems are developed and produced in Europe, in development centers and manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom and Portugal. TEKEVER offers a revolutionary UAS-based surveillance-as-a-service solution, delivering actionable real-time intelligence across ultra-wide areas. With absolute focus on gathering intelligence to support the most demanding missions, TEKEVER’s UAS product-line is designed and engineered to deliver the most advanced technical and operational capabilities, with extreme ease of use, and a business model that makes easily available at a global scale.

TEKEVER provides UAS technology and services to some of the most prestigious and demanding institutions in the world, including the United Kingdom’s Home Office, and the European Space and Maritime Safety Agencies.