Heathrow deploys anti-drone system

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A bespoke set of anti-drone systems has been deployed at London Heathrow as part of the airport’s end-to-end counter-drone measures.

The one-of-a-kind counter-drone system works by detecting and tracking drones in surrounding airspace and alerting airports of unauthorized drone use. This new and innovative system also works to locate the drone pilots themselves and can be used to identify their location.

The technology was designed for Heathrow Airport by UK firm Operational Solutions, and integrates for the first time a variety of leading counter-drone technologies from different manufacturers.

The fast and accurate detection of rogue drones helps to keep Heathrow’s passengers and staff safe and will support the airport, law enforcement and air traffic controllers as they work to protect Heathrow’s airspace. The new equipment will enhance detection capabilities and minimize delays, as well as helping the airport meet its sustainability objectives, by reducing the fuel wastage and additional flight stacking caused by unauthorized drones use.

The deployment follows the March 2019 introduction of UK legislation prohibiting unauthorized drones from being flown within the Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ), a boundary around the airport with a radius of 5km (3 miles). Pilots who break the law and fly without permission within an FRZ in the UK can face a prison sentence of up to five years.

Jonathan Coen, director of security at Heathrow, said, “The safety and security of our passengers and colleagues is our number one priority. That is why we’re investing in this new cutting-edge technology which will enhance our capabilities in the detection and deterrence of drones in and around our airfield. We’re delighted to have this unique system keeping our skies safe and helping passengers and cargo to get to their destinations on time.”


Join us at Passenger Terminal CONFERENCE for an exclusive panel discussion titled Drones and airports: counter-UAS on Day 1 of the Aviation Security, Border Control & Facilitation stream. The full conference program can be found here.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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